Extreme heat in the helm and thus everything outdoorsy looked mundane and unexciting for the past 2-3 days. Sitting at home this whole weekend, i felt lethargic and bored. Before i noticed, my focus ,shifted inward- but one which meandered the full loop of my random day.
I started on the periphery, donning the shoes of the usual homemaker -cooked a meal, cleaned the closets, polished some furniture, vacuumed and re-arranged the rooms (pet peeves: unorganized, dirty space!!) Obvious next, it proceeded to a good soak for myself. Still more time on hand, i indulged at a near by salon. Back home, a light snack and I was immersed into the couch with the day's headlines and a business magazine. A slave to still more time, the question was on the horizon and it soon shone-- Where am i headed , what are my goals?? Grave question and one which settled steadily on me ,like the early twilight seducing the sun to rise. I tried to think , but could'nt concentrate. I pondered deep but my answers felt enveloped, as if in double shrines. I felt an impermeable wall within , for i cud'nt gain any sincere evocation. My mind drew an analogy, the purpose the goal that i strived for- was like the familiar but unlit foyer of an outhouse, deep in the yard, beside a bright cheerful home at night.
I started with some sweet conjectures, just as if treading that yard in the comfortable company of cousins during a late summer night,yielding me mere wordssss - light hearted , boastful and bold :) As time ticked, i was moving but my company went sparse, call it cousins or the frivolous funny ideas which left me. Thus i cored to reach what i had set out for, now alone and a bit scared, the happy adventures of that day flashed past my mind in a slideshow. I smiled i smirked and my fear was no more the dark on the way, for i embraced it in the present and was walking with it hand in hand. I was "walking in the park" ,cooling against an unguarded summer breeze- aware of my every moment then.. I was happy because i was myself. But the next moment, anxious of whether its a daisy or demon at the outhouse, i took composure in my steps - tiptoeing, instead of a gallantly walking. Every step which felt like the blooming petals of a fragrant flower, turned into an ordeal where i was peeling the layers of an onion now.
Sullen as i moved on my line of thoughts onto the next day, i realized something deeper than my skin- once when i reach the foyer(purpose personified) and get all enlightened, i'll be happy i ciphered and may be my treasure hunt will complete itself in a matter of minutes ..but then thinking of the quarter mile walk which i took - which soured and stinked because i anxiously wore blinders like a horse shunning a peripheral view! Something struck me instantly then, that its not as important to answer where i am headed (well yes partly, for i need direction) but important is, how i am headed there - in anticipation or in anxiety!!
An inner conflict leveled, the latter part of the weekend went peaceful and the next day truly rocked for i recived a courier from my mom.. she had sent me special spices i asked for . You know the spice box or masala dabba like i call it, is the best gift my mom gave me and i'll be ever indebted for there was no gift so apt that moment, as i entered into unity- marriage. and the spices.. check out the bright red color of the freshly ground red chilly powder straight from home..
The curry that i share today is my father's favorite. The recipe that i share is also his creation. I remember how we kids used to love when papa would take that extra love into the kitchen and cook this specially for all of us. I loved it with the hint of dry fenugreek leaves at the end, while my brother not so much. The recipe was made mostly for sunday lunches.. and for one, maybe my picture just may never justify the passion with which this one curry is still made at home ..
1/2 kg Indian yam/Suran , skinned cubed and shallow or deep fried in oil
2 Medium red or Indian onions, peeled and cut into fourths
7 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 green chilly, halved
1 Bay leaf
2 Cardamon pods
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp curd/ plain yogurt
1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves
1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves
3 tsp cooking oil
2 tsp ghee/ clarified butter
Salt to taste
Lemon wedges to serve
As you prep, make sure the cubed yam is patted dry when u leave in the cubed pieces to fry. Fry all the pieces and keep aside.
Take the onions, green chilly garlic and run in your food processor/ grinder to a smooth paste.Heat a pressure cooker with oil , add cumin and bay leaves. Add the onion garlic paste and simmer over low heat till the onions go slighly translucent, add cardamoms. Add 1/2 tsp chilly powder ,all of coriander and all of turmeric powders, add salt to taste. Stir and sprinkle some water and whisk in the plain yougurt. Cook for 5-7 mins. Now add the peas and fried yam cubes. Mix and add 1/2 cup water. Sprinkle the fenugreek leaves. Close the cooker lid and put the whistle on. Turn the heat on high,let the cooker whistle twice.
Take a small separate pan, heat ghee on medium heat , splutter some more cumin seeds if u like and add 1/4 tsp red chilly powder, sprinkle some water, mix and remove. This is called tadka.
Serve the cooked yam with garnish of tadka along side some lemon wedges. Eat with roti or rice.
You have to make it, to believe the exploding flavors.