I have been making acquaintances with the woman who works at the convenience store around the corner. As part of this, and also because gas is expensive, I have been requesting special things from her, in order to try and keep up the demand for something other chan cheap beer and lotto tickets.
First special order: curry leaves
Now, I made this order because she lives in Lilburn. Which in itself is not particularly relevant, except that Lilburn is where the BAPS mandir is, and also she listens to Bollywood music in her little bulletproof glass booth. So I took a guess and asked if she could get them. She said she could. Be back Tuesday, she said.
Tuesday came around and she was not there, but I spoke to her husband who nearly immediately exclaimed “oh! I know who you are! My wife has talked about you!” (True to my roots, I was now suspicious and imagining all sorts of strange things she could have said, none of which were likely true). No curry leaves. Come back Sunday.
Sunday arrived and I went in, and she was there, pregnant and smiling. She retrieved the curry leaves from the cooler and pushed them through the slot in the glass. And suddenly I realized that I had not been imagining curry leaves correctly, because where I had been imagining the little hand-picked bundle of leaves that were sufficient for one moderately adventurous American household, these were two bundles of curry leaves so large I mistook them for bay leaves at first. I smiled and thanked her. I bought some Sai Baba incense as well, which doesn’t smell as nice as I imagined it would. (But oh, HEM brand agarbatti, I adore you. Where other incense smells like burning wood or burning tar or burning, well, burning, even your less pleasant varieties smell like something perfumey. And you are cheap! A good buy, all around.) She asked if I would need more the following Sunday and I replied that I thought I was probably good for the time being.
Now here I am with enough curry leaves for 8 couples to cook with for a week, ransacking my cookbooks to see if I can find a good recipe that uses curry leaves.
I really like cashews. I really like rice. I really like mustard seeds. I really like this recipe for turmeric rice. (I thought I was making it wrong by using cashews, but then we were given some special prasad at the temple that was this rice! With cashews! So I figure, if it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for me.)
I am getting a little sick of this rice. What’s more, I keep forgetting ingredients. No coconut. No curry (that is not going to be a problem for the forseeable future, though). No lemons. Today, it was no coriander (cilantro). But it was delicious nonetheless! And then I made this dish that I thought was going to be a quick cook (heh heh canned chickpeas, recipe writer, I have fooled you so!), but ended up taking quite a long time. That will teach me to think that a recipe from an ayurvedic cookbook will be made faster with a “quickie” cheat. I am so wrong.
Anyway, it all worked out in the end. The food was delicious, even without the cilantro, and I’ve got lunch tomorrow, plus plans for what I’ll make for dinner tomorrow evening (what did not get made this evening). And when I get the turmeric rice to come out right, I’m going to share it with my new acquaintance.
Just as soon as I go pick up some cilantro.
The evening’s dinner:
From Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. Great book. Requires a time commitment. It’s much easier to follow now that I know how to identify the ingredients. I recommend making a list of all you find and spending some time at an Indian grocery.
(And did you know that really unripe coconuts have lavender flesh? Well, they do.)