India Week Ends Early

This week is was Indian Food Week!

DeAnna signed me up for an intro to Indian Cooking class at one of the local wineries. Although the class turned out to be a lecture format, and thus no hands on, it was a great learning experience. I easily took 8 pages of notes in my Field Notes notebook. Watching the chef instructor cook, we were able to see the various stages of the process while she explained the nuances of dealing with so many spices. It’s all about balance. That and a healthy dose of “don’t burn the spices or you have to start all over”.

Now some of you may be reading this and thinking, it’s Tuesday, why is he writing about Indian Food Week already? We’ll get there.

Indian food is intense. I think I now know why some of the dieties have more than 2 arms. It takes a village to make a single curry. As of a result of trying to make chipatis, sauté okra, and make a yogurt sauce at the same time, I managed to let the sauce boil and break. I was so frustrated by this point, I just gave up and served the okra with the broken sauce. Whatever. It tasted delicious. In hindsight, I should have calmed down, and started the sauce over. That was the easy part, afterall.

Because things felt so complex, I ended up missing pictures of the previous night’s rice and dahl. That dish turned out perfectly. I also made it on a Sunday when I had plenty of time. If I am allowed to make Indian food in the house again, I’ll definitely plan to do it on an afternoon when I have plenty of time and am not already stressed out from a long day at work.

I started everything by making a quick cilantro chutney. You are all familiar with this stuff. It’s the bright green sauce you get with papadums, at every restaurant you go to. Not only is it delicious, but really quite simple to make. Then I made garlic pickle. OK, let’s talk about Indian pickle. Is there anything more flavorful in the world? My mouth is watering just thinking about that pungent, sour, spicy garlic.

Then I made the okra. Honestly, this wasn’t that tough of a dish. I was pretty tired by the time I finished the chutney and pickle, then set up my mis en place to start cooking. The problem came when I realized that I wanted to make chipatis, read the recipe, then thought sure, I can knead dough with one hand while stirring okra with the other. No. I. Can’t. Well, maybe I can, but I certainly can’t warm up a yogurt sauce at the same time.

So, here we are. Last night’s dinner. Honestly, it was flavor-packed, perfectly spicy, and freakin’ delicious. But that okra looked a mess. Thankfully Deanna got a couple of quick photos for posterity.

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