So…i decide learning to cook Indian is my next great adventure.
This wasn’t some impulsive decision i made on a whim with nary a thought to what would come of it….Like beauty school. Part time. At 40. (And just a short 4 years later – i can do your nails!!!)
No, this was a long time coming. Like, since the first time i had a full mouth experience of that most unctuous, savory, orgasmic concoction we mere mortals know as korma.
Vegetable korma changed my entire understanding about how good food can be. Vegetable korma introduced me to the sexy underworld of food options when you use every spice in the pantry but only after first roasting, grinding and saying a small prayer over each one. Vegetable Korma changed my life. And once you have good vegetable korma…there’s no going back to simple stir fry.
i must have more!!!
And try as i might, my budget and my waist couldn’t handle going out for a daily dose of korma. So that is when the origins of my obsession to learn how to cook Indian food began. But how???
i started with Pinterest but found it to be more Indian-ish than true Indian. Where was the 20 ingredient lists? The exotic spices i have never heard of and can’t pronounce? Don’t give me short cuts!! i want to spend 3 days on preparing this dish and 2 hours slow cooking it!! i want the real meal experience of a culture’s entire culinary history contained in the perfect and immortal flavors of one spoonful of beautiful vegetable korma.
That was when, right on cue, i had a birthday. And my fantastic foodie friend gave me The Food of India.
THE most amazing cookbook i have ever had!! It is full of gorgeous photos not only of the food, but spice bins in street stalls, sacred cows wandering the city streets, and other sweet vignettes of India’s diverse way of life. And the recipes!! Pages of long ingredient lists full of exotic spice names and complicated preparations including days of multiple marinations – i was in love. (i have looked for this book on Amazon, and there is one with the same name but different cover and it is $90! If that is the same book, i am going to have to step up my gift giving! Oy!)
And there, right there in the “vegetarian meal” section was – be still my heart – vegetable korma. Huzzah!
My first order of business was to gather the supplies and by “supplies” i mean at least ten different spices i had barely, or never, heard of. A trip down the street to Safeway proved to be pointless – and i wasn’t quite brave enough to venture into the Indian grocery store down the road (My Indian is worse than my Spanglish. i just point and look apologetic.)
No, i was going to have to fall back on that hipster of hipster stores, the store-that-shall-not-be-named in fear of a crisp $100 disappearing magically from your wallet, the store that basically requires you to be gluten/lactose/nightshade/reality intolerant and has a disproportionate amount of shelving allotted to “enhanced” water – Whole Foods.
Three hours later, and after nearly running over 5 separate hipster/yuppie/helicopter-parent/seemingly-invincible-dark-clothed Whole Foods Marketerians on a dark and rainy evening while trying to navigate my small SUV through an unlit parking lot made for cars even smaller than mine (really Whole Foods? You can’t spring for parking lot lights?) and almost flattening over one mouthy chick who thought she had the right of way while walking BEHIND my car…as I was backing up… (Oh yes, Madison. I WILL run you over)…
I. Have. The. Stuff.
Before going to work the next day, i lay out the dry ingredients that i will need to make this magical dish and it takes up two entire countertops. And probably won’t be done until 10:00pm. But it will be SO GOOD!!!
But upon returning home from work, eager to begin conjuring this mystical creation, i notice that the bag of cashews is gone. GONE gone. Like, i can’t find it anywhere. Where could an entire bag of cashews go? It’s not like grandma’s homemade canned apple butter that hides in the back of the fridge where everything with fuzzies live and somehow disappears every time i remember it’s there and go look for it to throw it away…no, this is a brand NEW bag of cashews that are CRUCIAL to the dish and gives it its signature creamy, yummy flavor and was right THERE on the countertop this morning!!
Just then, Annie, my 11 year old knucklehead cattle dog, DEMANDS to go out to poop and I see where all the cashews went. And thus began a three day adventure of OMGIHAVETOPOOPNOW with my simple but voracious dog as the star and bag after bag of undigested cashews thrown into the garbage bin.
My life is a clown car at a very long red light.