What? Another blog about Indian cooking?

I am hoping this blog will be different… ha! Why?? Because I am a sworn non-traditionalist and non-conformist and was raised by a mother who is a retired scientist and lets just she didn’t limit her science to the lab where she worked! 😉 And if that is not enough she is a recipe innovator and should I dare say the queen of shortcuts? I mean who really wants to stand in front of a pot cooking gajar halwa (carrot pudding) from scratch for hours!!?? So anyways…. we grew up valuing time spent with each other instead of in front of the stove or in the kitchen.

Me? There are 2 things I couldn’t dream of giving up… cycling and being vegetarian. Growing up in India there were two kinds of diets – vegetarian and non. But I soon learned of the nuances of being vegetarian in America when the deli downstairs from my office in SoHo, NYC would assume I ate fish even though I specified I was vegetarian! I almost ate the lox cream-cheese bagel I was served up but was saved by my office mate and the conversation which saved me went somewhat like this:

She: You’re vegetarian right?
Me: Yes!
She: But you eat fish?
Me: No!! I eat no food which has eyes… except potatoes (sadly, my favorite joke)
She: Well, that’s lox in your cream-cheese and lox is salmon!
Me: It is???!! I thought it was grated carrots!!
She: Laughed so hard….
I had to point out to her that I was fresh off the boat!!

But back then in the late 90’s all over NYC if I said I was vegetarian I was invariably offered fish as an alternative.

One thing I have to point out is that really, it easy to be vegetarian if you’re Indian…IMHO and I am sure you agree right? I mean look at the variety of legumes, beans and flours we use not to mention the fact that every state pretty much is trying to one-up the neighboring one on whose food is better and some state governments have even got into spats claiming the birthplace of some obscure dish or the other. I mean Indians are really, really proud of their food!! Like the Italians… food is a huge part of the culture…you gather around elaborate meals, you squabble over food and flavor, you have a typical food for a certain type of weather and you have to sometimes feign liking the food or you’d be insulting your host.  I never quite understood this last one because in India you’ll find people insulting each other in every other way most of the time!! But I digress.

The reason I started this blog is because over time I’ve shared recipes and techniques and taught a group of enthusiastic, encouraging and indulging friends a few of their favorite dishes and I keep getting requests for more! I should add that some of the recipes you’ll see here are most certainly not authentically Indian, but might just be a popular recipe with an Indian twist – like my “Masala Mac-n-cheese”! So watch this space.

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