Friday, June 17, 2011

Indian Feast

Ever since doing a report on the Taj Mahal in the third grade, I've been captivated, inspired, and intrigued by the colors, flavors, and style of India.

I love these photos from Emersonmade's travel blog, and they make me long to be wearing a caftan, turban, and outsized turquoise ring while smoking a bidi and wearing some serious kohl eyeshadow somewhere near Jaipur.  For now, I'll have to settle for cheffing up an Indian feast on a warm June evening in Boston (little man probably wouldn't appreciate the bidi smoke anyway). 

I've talked about our quickie Indian dinners a lot, and tofu tikka masala is pretty much always on our weekly menu.  I saute tofu and petite peas, add greens and a Seeds of Change tikka masala sauce, toast some naan, and call it dinner.  We always enjoy these Indian meals so much that I decided I am ready to delve into a bit of scratch Indian cooking as well.   I stocked up on cumin seeds, garam masala and curry on my last grocery run, and was ready to get started.   So, last night, along with the usual tofu tikka, I made baingan bartha from scratch, based on a recipe from Eat Live Run.
Don't you feel healthier just looking at this ingredient pile?  All veggies and spices... delish.
Massive pile of cilantro on deck next to tofu tikka prep.
This meal was nourishing, energizing, and light.  The flavors from the Indian spices are so robust, they really wake up your taste buds and your whole body.  The baingan bartha is vegan and made simply from roasted eggplant, fresh ginger, jalapeno, tomatoes and onions, but you'd swear there is a cup of cream hiding in there based on the creamy and smooth final product.  Admittedly, it was a bit ambitious for me to try cooking this for the first time at the end of a busy Thursday... if you're new to Indian food, I'd recommend saving this experiment for a Saturday.  Nonetheless, I was glad to have put in the effort.  This was a special dinner and we savored it slowly, dipping pieces of warm garlic naan into the spicy sauces, and chatting until the sky was dark.
I need a new camera.  And better kitchen lighting. But, you get the gist... colorful and tasty!
Yesterday was the kind of day where calling for a pizza would have been so much more sane than preparing this meal, but sometimes following your inspiration and diving into the things that make you feel alive (travel daydreams, vibrant colors, and spicy, healthy, vegetarian cuisine) is the sanest choice of all. 
Happy Friday!
Here's to an adventurous weekend of trying new things...


  1. What a great post. The recipe looks just wonderful.

  2. Have you read Eating India, by Chitrita Banerji? I bet you'd like it!

  3. Thank you carolinaheartstrings!

    Sarah - I'll have to find that book. I haven't seen it and it sounds like I'd love it! xo