It is Cultural Tidbits Monday and we continue with our new mini series. Today, we are traveling through Indian food! As you already know, on this series, I’ll be featuring some of my favorite ethnic foods and restaurants through educational (and quite yummy) photo essays.
My obsession with Indian food
Ahh, this post will make me really really hungry, because Indian food happens to be my favorite cuisine in the world. Actually, it is more an obsession with any Asian curry, and well, Indians happen to have a heck of a lot of different varieties. Mmmm, thinking about thick curries perks up all my senses: they look, taste and smell incredible. First, I’ll describe one I tasted for the first time last week:
I basically told my server at India’s Grill Kennedy: “it’s been a while since I’ve eaten Indian food and I’m bad with names, so please just serve me the thickest curry you offer.” The big grin of the server was priceless, as he pointed to the menu and exclaimed “Chicken Khorma!”
Definitely could not refute his choice after he said it was a very thick yellow curry and the menu read “boneless chicken cooked in a creamy almond sauce.” I could not help but think: “amazing in my mouth, good for my skin. BINGO”
That’s not all I got on the massive entree, oh no. In addition to a huge portion of chicken khorma and accompanying basmati rice, I also got two additional decently-sized sides: paneer butter masala and fried spinach pakoras:
Paneer butter masala
Paneer is Indian cottage cheese, while butter masala means it is cooked in a buttery tomato sauce. To me, it smelled and tasted like another delicious curry. My gosh. I want it again.
Fried spinach pakoras
The crispy, fried delicacy, are made of what seems to be batter and, well, spinach. Flavourful and a bit spicy, they are not as heavy as they look. Perfect!
My dining buddy this time was my roomie Alan, and since he had never had Indian food before, I had to order the famous Indian samosas as the app. Of course, it is pretty tough to mess up a samosa, especially when the place you walk into plays nothing but Bollywood movies on a big screen. Then, I just knew they would be fantastic:
Talking of my dining buddy, he is Jewish and can never say no to lamb whenever it is offered, so he went for the lamb masala: tender lamb cooked in a creamy, tomato-based curry sauce. I had a bite and it was heavenly – will have to order a full portion next time!
I have a special relationship with this particular Indian food, as the first time I tried it was at the Sub Kuch Milega hostel for Eid el Adha in Israel…ahhh, brings back so many wonderful memories! I grin every time I remember that trip and that hostel *happy sigh*
Coming from the Hindi phrase (and meaning “everything is possible”), this funky Tel Aviv hostel is the epitome of how I imagined a hostel to be before I ever stepped into one. The bright colors, permeating Indian spices scent due to its 24-hour Indian food kitchen, the 32-shekel-all-you-can-eat Indian food buffet, 24-hour bar…you can only imagine. The vibe of the place was unique and got to meet several locals that simply hang out at the place to eat and drink. We were fortunate enough to meet a group of Israelis that were planning a Palestinian solidarity “peace walk” — now that’s something you won’t see on the news! Sad isn’t it?
Ok, I got drifted away! Back to malai kofta: they are croquettes made of ground vegetables, nuts, raisins, and cheese smothered in a thick, creamy sauce. Once again, that thick sauce is shock-full of Indian spices goodness, bringing Asian curries to mind again.
Mmm, can’t wait to eat Indian food again! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to travel to India yet. When I do though, I know I’ll be a very, very happy camper. This fascinating subcontinent is in my Top 3 destinations to visit.