I spent much of the afternoon in an overstuffed chair at a cafe with a new library find: The Indian Spice Kitchen by Monisha Bharadwaj. This treasure covers, in delicious detail, the spices, herbs, produce, and other ingredients that make the cuisines of India so distinctive and includes a couple of recipes to highlight each ingredient. Needless to say, dinner would be Indian. We made a quick stop at the local Vietnamese market for ginger, chiles, cabbage, cilantro, and a few other things because, naturally, surrounded by all that produce, the menu just kept growing in my mind.
I came home and whipped up the following three dishes: Punjabi aloo, chana masala, and spiced cabbage. Aloo means potatoes, and this dish is the first Indian dish I mastered years ago using a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. It's very versatile and can be made in a number of different ways. Sometimes I add peas for color, greens for the vitamins, or chickpeas for extra protein. It hardly matters what you do as the dish will still be delicious. You can find my take on the the original recipe here.
The chana masala I've written about before. I found the recipe on Orangette a few weeks ago and have now made it 4 times. It never disappoints, especially reheated for breakfast.
As for the cabbage, it was a snap. I heated some coconut oil and added mustard seeds, waiting until they popped. Then into the pan went a thinly sliced red bell pepper and a good pinch of turmeric. Once the pepper was soft I added half of a green cabbage, very thinly sliced along with a pinch of salt. I stirred and fried until the cabbage was soft and sweet.
Early on in the process I'd thrown some rinsed basmati rice into my darling little rice cooker along with a broken cinnamon stick and a few crushed cardamom pods. Of course I wished for some freshly baked flat breads and a nice chutney or two, but this was spur of the moment and I was quite happy with the meal I'd whipped up. I think The Picky Ones ate sandwiches, which left us with lots of tasty leftovers.