Today we're off to amazing India!
I've been to India twice now, and the glory of Indian food is definitely one of the many great joys of traveling there. Indians are absolutely down with vegetarian food... in fact, they usually have to advertise if they offer meat, so people looking for meaty options will know where to go! Reverse-o Land! However, they are also nuts for secretly injecting ghee and curds into everything they make, so us vegans usually end up with a sore tummy every once in a while. Nonetheless, India food is definitely one of my most favorite cuisines, and it wasn't easy to pick just one meal from the countless glorious options.
So, to help me decide, I decided to stay true to my usual "eat local, eat seasonal" ethos (which hasn't always been easy during this "Around the World in 30 Days" project) - and I went with a simple meal of Smoked Eggplant, Collard Greens with Asafetida, and rice. All recipes are from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian.
This whole meal came together quite quickly and was really good, and plenty spicy! Yeah! In order to prepare for our first trip to India, I started loading up on the hot sauce whenever we'd go out for Mexican food... the equivalent of weight lifting for my tender taste buds. It definitely worked, and I have much more of an appetite for spicy foods now than I ever did before that trip. Both the eggplant and the collards were perfectly spicy, and they were a great compliment to each other. The collards have an earthy, just-barely-bitter quality that was a perfect balance with the sweetness of the eggplant. mmm!
Also! Vegan Mango Lassi to go along with dinner. The (soy) yogurt here was a great friend with such a spicy dinner. I don't usually let myself buy too many mangoes... but I have found a little produce shop near my house which has been selling the most incredible football-sized mangoes grown right here in California! I'm sure they're from Southern California, so they definitely aren't local, but it's not like they're flying in from Thailand either. I won't make a habit of it, but it's nice to have a tropical fruit every once in a while!
Here's an old picture of me, from my first trip to India. A lovely woman named Galesh is dressing me up in her sari... it was really a joy to meet Galesh and her family. I still think of them often!