The day I never expected to arrive is only a hop skip and a jump away now. The husband and I are packing our bags for a two week trip to India! Naturally we’re both excited — I’ve never been there (and I really never expected I’d be able to go, considering the ridiculous ten-week delay in processing my visa application) and he hasn’t been back in years. So the opportunity to visit his mom, friends, and the place of his youth seems almost like a dream. Not that you’d notice by looking at him, though. Unless you’re familiar with G’s mannerisms, you wouldn’t pick up on the extra buoyant half-skip in his step and the twinkle in his eye, but I know he’s over the moon.
And just think of the food! I’m sure most people are at least somewhat familiar with “traditional” popular Indian food, the garden-variety Chicken tikka masalas and samosas that can be had even in your local grocery store’s frozen section. But I’m heading to Madras, to South India, so these days I just sit in blissful observance as the husband and his sister go off about all the different cities, restaurants, and foods we MUST experience. I wish I could tell you, I can’t even pronounce half the things they come up with (mostly location names); even so, I’m looking forward to the dosas, idlis, different style thalis, and Lord knows what else… 🙂 If it’s possible, I’ll try to post a few pictures and stories while there. Otherwise I’ll have some tantalizing stories to share when we return.
So in honor of this trip, the following recipe was magicked up by the husband (who is too busy to write this himself due to pacing back and forth in contemplation over the journey), inspired by the flavors we fly heart-first toward this week. A very simple Sabzi (vegetable saute or stew) with beets and carrots, enhanced dramatically by the particular choice of spices and seasonings. Sweetness overlaid with a distinct spiciness, Perfect with roti, naan, a thick slab of sourdough even 🙂 And I love the color! Brilliance.
- 2 beets peeled and grated
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- Asafoetida (Heeng)– just a pinch!
- 4 red chili peppers halved and seeded*
- Curry leaves
- 1/2 lime, squeezed
*I bought some gorgeous small red chilis from the specialty vegetables area of my local Safeway surprisingly enough (currently pictured on the homepage banner). Don’t be fooled, these suckers burn! So you might want to turn down the heat and use just 2 chilis; even these were hot for us.*
In a large frying pan heat some olive oil on medium heat, and then add the mustard seeds. Once they begin to splutter and dance the cha-cha-cha, lower the heat and add the garlic, asafoetida (if you have it), chilis, and curry leaves, letting this fry for about a minute or two, until the garlic has slightly browned and softened.
Then, add the veggies and saute on a medium flame for roughly 3 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure full coating of masala and oil over the carrots and beets. Once done, reduce the flame once more and cover the pan, only lifting it to stir the sabzi occasionally. The beets should shrink in size (releasing water which evaporates) and no longer release that fresh beety aroma, instead replacing that with a mouth-watering melt-in-your-mouth scent that I have come to identify with South India courtesy of the husband, whether or not I’m correct.