Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 27: Once Upon a Time, in India…

…I ate a bunch of food. There’s no denying that Indian food is an unbelievably broad category, really; it’s almost insulting to cram such a huge range of culinary traditions under that one umbrella. I spent about two and a half weeks in Bangalore for work some years back and got to see the tiniest sliver of this first hand. Fancy restaurants, little cafes, office cafeterias–I was so happy to try it all.

Above: I swear this was more yellow in person. WYD, turmeric? Are you allergic to cameras?

So why am I posting about a pretty humble dish, lemon rice?

One of my coworkers shared it with me. Her mom made it for breakfast. There was a chutney. It was colorful and full of texture and some milder flavors (turmeric, mustard seed, curry leaf). It’s not the kind of thing you’re likely to find in many restaurants, and yet, it was so delicious to me. So satisfying. Honest to blob, I dream about this fucking lemon rice sometimes.

Like…you can travel and eat at restaurants, and that’s awesome (dear god I have so many fond memories of eating my way through Singapore on the same work trip), but connecting with another person over food? Over cooking? That’s special.

Anyway, I hadn’t tried to recreate it at home, because I was pretty sure it would disappoint. I did, however, procure some curry leaves (my partner’s gardener extraordinaire mother has a plant), and thought I’d give it a go, using Vegan Richa’s recipe. It wasn’t as good as the memory, naturally, but it was wonderful all the same.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 25: Favorite cuisine — Indian

The world is full of pretty amazing food, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to visit some of those places and eat some of that food. I’ve learned how to make curry from scratch in Thailand and gorged on falafel on Christmas in Paris. Even closer to home, I can explore one dinner at a time: Ethiopian, Korean, Persian, Mexican, Italian…hell, even American, which is pretty all-encompassing. It only makes me hungry for more.

One cuisine I seldom get bored of is Indian. You could eat something different every damn day and still not try everything, and that’s just the veg options. Vegetables can be prepared and combined in endless combination with all those spices. There’s rice, grains, lentils, and beans that become dosas, dhokla, chapati, stuffed parathas, dals, curries… And then there’s regional specialties, about which I am only marginally informed. (When I went to Bangalore for work, for example, I learned about Parsi cuisine, from Indians of Iranian/Persian descent, and got to eat it twice. It was the bessssst, even though I confused them by being *really* into the “plain” greens dish.)

Anyway. It’s pretty awesome. I don’t cook it at home enough, because even though I know it needn’t be terribly complex, it just fails to pop up when I’m doing my usual last-minute dinner planning. MoFo has been good for something, in that sense. So for this theme, I made a quick Indian dinner, using recipes and a menu from The Indian Vegan Kitchen. I have a few Indian cookbooks, but this is the one I tend to use.

Dinner consisted of quick channa masala (to which I added spinach)…

…peanut-cabbage “salad” (it is cooked; really more of a nice vegetable side than a salad)…

…and rice to serve. Yum.

Bonus: earlier this week I made a nice chaat-inspired sprout salad with sprouted lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, pepper, onion, and fresh homemade cilantro chutney.

I wanted to make something with chapatis, because I love flatbread, but this really did work better over rice. Plus it’s less work after work. Next time.