Sunday, March 09, 2008

for the love of indian food

Indian Food - Yum!
When it comes to food- I can do Italian, I can do Turkish, I can do Moroccan- but Indian overwhelms me- perusing the aisles at my Indian grocery only serves to remind me I know nothing about cooking Indian food. Because if you know me and how I cook. I usually go off the recipe with my own intuition a bit and I don't know Indian spices well enough to ad lib.

I had alot of Indian and Pakistani students when I taught at a college in California and I wish I had asked them to teach me how to cook. I remember them making rotis with the preschool kids as a snack activity once (but alas my job was observing and grading how they taught and that means focusing less on what they taught). See I want the good "traditional family recipes"- the true gems--the ones gleaned from your grandma, neighbor up the street etc. not the standard cookbook betty crocker ones . I have often been tempted (although my sensitivity training tells me this is not the right answer) to stop some Indian people I encounter at the grocery store and ask them to share their recipes with me- that may sound crazy and culturally insensitive but really where is the forum for this type of cultural exchange, I ask you?? should I go into the store hold everyone hostage at spatula point and demand recipes? Maybe I should post a personal ad or maybe this is an idea for the next big global social networking site.
Married, white, female, SAHM likes painting and walking on the beach, ISO Indian friends for recipe exchange (and possibly Bhangra dance lessons) (maybe those bollywood dreams aren't a loss after all).
I mean I have a hard time hanging out at my local Indian grocery store with my 3 kids and casually sidling up to grocery patrons in attempts to strike up a friendship with the underhanded hopes of eventually gleaning some Indian recipe knowledge from it all.
The fact that I can't cook Indian food is a shame because actually it is a little know fact but smart daddy-o, designed one of the only roti makers (aka tortilla makers) on the market. When we were first married Allen was working for a start up company in Ca. He did some design contract work for an appliance manufacturer whose president was Indian and therefore one of his niche products the roti/tortilla maker . And I will say "ergonomic press handle" concept design was mine oh lowly non engineer that I am.
So after an Indian food discussion with some friends at church I decided I should try to make some Indian food including roti (including using my roti maker for rotis) and naan (ss#1s favorite food) My prayers for Indian food help were answered when a google search found me Auntie Manjula- in all her Youtube glory to teach me the fine art of down home Indian cooking.
So Indian populations near me can now shop in peace without the fear of smart mama cozying up to them for their recipes.


LL said...

can't wait for our Indian feast...i laugh at the thoughts of you cozying up to the people at the grocery store. FUNNY!

smart mama said...

i tried to think of some good pickup lines- like "i am new in the neighborhood- where do you get a nice sari around here" but I thought they'd see through me...

Shelah said...

you need to rent "Bend it Like Beckham" and watch Gurinder Chadha,the creator of the film. making aloo gobi in the special features. I'd be so happy to find a show on the Food Network doing real Indian food, kind of like Molto Mario goes to Mumbai.

I've made a few really good curries out of Madhar Jafrey's old classic Indian cookbook.

Chel said...

I love Indian food. My DH is really good at some curry recipes-- we love curry dishes-- but we haven't really mastered anything else. ...well, I guess I haven't really tried. Maybe I should! :)

Valarie said...

I'd love to learn to cook Indian food, too. I make curries, but they are nothing like what we get at the Bombay House- and I'm not even sure how authentic that is. All I really know how to make is the Aloo Gobi (from the tutorial Shelah mentioned). Unfortunately, my husband won't eat cauliflower, no matter how dressed up it is.

Anonymous said...

Maybe dh could ask some coworkers. I'm sure there are a couple of people from India at his place of employment.


smart mama said...

yah shelah send me some good recipe action and i guess i'll have to add BLB tomy movie queue all in the name of food- and cathy i thought about the contractors-- LOL