Exposure to various cuisine is the portal to understanding and embracing cultures around the world. The flavors represent not only the people’s lifestyle and philosophy but their attitude towards life. And I don ‘t speak of the food you eat when you go out, or the food you make when you have guests. I talk about the food you eat when you are wearing your pajamas and your hair is all messed up. I am talking about real down to home food that is family, nationality and you… Thee real you. The food you eat from a house in India, Bolivia, Ecuador, Greece, Russia, Pakistan and you think you are back home. For a split second that house becomes your home.
That was exactly what I felt nearly a month ago, when I visited some old friends in upstate NY. Well more on the border of NY and PA. Amit and Nidhi Daga, are great friends and great hosts. The first night after running around seeing museums cities and parks, we went home exhausted. And Nidhi made her favorite food. I don ‘t know the name but I know it was great! The overall structure is similar to nachos or tortilla plates. We need:
- Half a package Indian potato wafers
- Potatoes 3-4 small yukon gold
- Tamarind chutney
- Cilantro chutney
- Red pepper
You can buy chutneys ready, but you can also make them.. I will have it in a different post soon enough. Whatever you do. I must mention the amazing idea of keeping the spoons in the jar. It is amazing. Little things make the world evolve.
Here is the home made cilantro chutney…
And the homemade tamarind chutney.
We start by boiling the potatoes. I boil them in water. Nidhi tied them in a plastic bag (from the grocery store) and popped them in the microwave. They were done in 3 minutes. But milage may vary depending on your oven.
Once that is done cut them in small pieces.
First in slices and the in smaller pieces. How small?
In the size of about 2-3 corn kernels.
Place cilantro in a bowl of water and let it sit. This will make all the soil that is on the leaves and springs to come off.
Take some of the yogurt, and if it is awesome homemade yogurt, add some of it’s water to make it more runny. If not, just whisk it a bit and it will break down the protein structure making it more runny.
Season it with some salt,
and some nice red hot pepper.
Dice the onion.
And do it on a cutting board. It is safe and efficient. Repeat with the cilantro. Cilantro can be roughly chopped.
Drizzle the yogurt mixture on the top.
Not need to put too much. Just make sure that all the wafers have some of it.
Start sprinkling the potato. Potato on potato you ask… Well yes. It is all about the texture. Creamy and soft boiled potato versus the dry and crunchy potato wafers.
Put enough to create a noticeable layer of potato, but not too dense. You want the other textures to stand out.
A bit of more yogurt…
Some more potatoes..
And now the chutneys… The tamarind that is sweet and warming and the…
cilantro that is fragrant and wild.
Time for some more pepper and we are there… Almost…
The last but important element is cilantro.
And there you have it. A food that my mom would have made if she was indian. A food that is in the edge if excellence. Enjoy it…