I’ll say this: it’s been a tough month. Things said and done that I wish more than anything I could take back, and pain of varying kinds. Too much dwelling, I think. Now, it’s time to let time do it’s thing. So, I’ll say no more than that.
Instead, I want to tell you about one of the bright spots. Namely, a dinner with some of the usual suspectsyou’ll hear more about them in subsequent posts, I’m sure. These are the people who have gotten me through so much, and who have shared their kitchens and their lives with me. Keepers, if you will.
First, there was the day of prep with Rajni. A stroll through the farmer’s market in the mid-August heat, with stalls and stalls of Jersey tomatoes, each looking more tempting than the last. Then, back to her kitchen where I was the sous chef. And, what I mean by that is I followed her around taking photos and jotting notes as she shared the recipes her mother had taught her.
I also attempted to help where needed. Sometimes, it seems, I’m able to follow instructions quite well. Case in point: expertly grated cucumber. Fine, there was box grater involved. Nonetheless, it felt good to have the cool vegetable in my hands, focused on the mechanics of doing, knowing the effort would pay off.
She outdid herself, truly. First, there was the raita. A huge vat of it for Jared. The recipe doubled since it’s his favorite part of an Indian meal. Then there were simply pickled red onions, served atop chana masala, adding crispness and making it sing, and a dal like I’ve never had before. I’ll get to those recipes in due time.
For now, I want to share Rajni’s Raita recipe with you. Jared proclaimed it the best he’s ever eated. Justin called it Indian food like his mother used to make, although I suppose you’d have to be there to really appreciate the humor (or, just click the link).
I just ate, happy to be surrounded by people I love.
1 cucumber, peeled
3 cups plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp corriander
1 TBS garam masala
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 TBS finely chopped cilantro
Shred the cucumber using a box grater. Place in a strainer and add a pinch of salt. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes, until the moisture has been drained. Set aside.
Using an electric beater, whip the yogurt until it has loosened.
Add spices, salt, lemon juice and cucumbers to the yogurt and stir.
Refrigerate 1-2 hours, allowing the flavors to meld.
Garnish with the freshly chopped cilantro before serving.