There is nothing more delightful than Indian food. It is tantalizing, exotic, and most of all comforting. It is the greatest comfort food to me. I was cooking and listening to Aradhna by myself this evening, while my husband enjoyed a meal with coworkers at Coast (which I am not jealous of because I hate seafood). I find great peace in the culture of a country that nearly ruined me.
Aradhna is the most incredible group of musicians. Check them out on iTunes. You will be spell bound, I assure you. If you don’t like world music, then I’m afraid I can’t help you. But you need some help.
I really love their album ‘Amrit Vani’ and have listened to it on repeat many a times. The title track, ‘Amrit Vani’, along with ‘Jaya Dev’, ‘Narahari’ are some of the really good ones, but you really can’t go wrong with purchasing the whole album. You can imagine my delight, when I went onto iTunes this evening, while my curry simmered on the stove, and found that on Wednesday they released a beautiful new album.
This is taken from their blog. It explains the last track, ‘Apane Logo’ on their new album: Namaste Sate.
“When I was recording the vocal part, I recalled the blind men and women who make their living walking up and down the aisle of the Indian trains and buses, singing at the top of their lungs, usually a devotional song about God’s mercy, (and the implied mercy of the potential donors sitting in their seats). The strong Hindi vocal part that opens the song translates to what Pete sings later, “I will lead the blind down ways they have not known. I will turn the darkness into light.” I will probably never have the life of the blind on an Indian train, but, even without that experience, I sense my spiritual need more than ever these days. And I feel the things that I usually rely on slipping. From the heart I want to chant the subversive prayer, “Our Father, who is in Heaven, your Kingdom come,” and take less comfort in my securities or my citizenship in a powerful country. And I want to hear the words, “I will not forsake you,” calling back.”
I was deeply inspired by this album. Once you take a trip to India, and you feel the pulse of India deep inside your own heart, you are changed. It is an exotic land, full of spices, bejeweled foreheads and jingling ankles. The food is rich and satisfying; the people, joyous, mischevious, raw. All of these things are true about India. But most of all, it’s the ever increasing cry of Mother India that fills the hollows of your ears, beckoning you back. This I cannot escape. And so I envelope myself in the scents and sounds, feeling the familiar, comforting ba bump ba bump of her heart next to mine. Not now, Amma, I whisper. But one day.
I was also inspired by the first whisperings of Spring! It was a stunningly beautiful day today, complete with blinding blue skies, hot white sunshine and a gorgeous tangerine evening glow that slipped it’s silky skin all along the glass skyscrapers downtown. I cannot wait for the days of spring dew and sunshine.
All this inspiration led to cooking. This recipe is very fresh tasting, and feels almost like a type of daal. There are no lentils in the mix, so it’s still a curry, but it’s incredibly soothing and delightful.
Cauliflower & Tomato Curry over Nutmeg Scented Red Quinoa. (inspired by Aradhna & Mollie Katzen)
- 1 1/2 cups of of diced onions
- 4 slices of fresh ginger, diced.
- 1 tbsp grape seed oil
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized florets
- 4 small cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2-3 tsp arrowroot powder
- 1- 24 oz. can of whole tomatoes
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Half a red pepper, finely diced.
- Fresh, chopped parsley.
Begin by sautéing the onions with the ginger in 1 tbsp of grape seed oil, and 1 tsp. salt. Grape seed oil compliments Indian spices very well and can be cooked at high heat without giving off a flavour.
While onions are cooking, put on a pot a quinoa. Rinse one cup red quinoa well. Pour into pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover pot and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit. When ready to serve, fluff with a fork, and grate 2 tsp fresh nutmeg over top, as well as a generous cracking of black pepper.
When onions are translucent, add the garlic and spices and cook for 5 more minutes.
Add cauliflower, 1/3 a cup of the tomato juice (from the can of whole tomatoes) and another teaspoon of salt. Cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10-12 minutes. If you need to add more liquid, pour in some of the tomato juice to keep the cauliflower from sticking.
Add the whole tomatoes and stir until the tomatoes are broken up. I actually stick my hands right into the tomatoes and squish them apart. Why not? Let simmer for a good 5 minutes, so the tomato juices can find their way into all the cauliflower’s little pockets. To thicken the sauce, add 2-3 tsp arrowroot powder to 2-3 tsp of curry broth in a small dish. Whisk together and pour back into curry and stir.
Add the peas and diced red pepper. Once the peas are warm (about 30 seconds), remove from heat. Crack some fresh black pepper over top, pour curry over the red quinoa, toss on some of the parsley and enjoy!
For dessert, make some chai and ponder the rich dwelling you call home. Be thankful for your hands and feet, your ability to walk, your full set of teeth, your eyesight, your ability to find a job and make a home. We reap blessings with each breath.