Sunday, December 16, 2007

13 Ways

1. I start the Nan. I make the dough so it can rise while I prepare the rest of the meal. I use my best Nan recipe. It calls for a half-cup of plain yogurt. This makes the bread flavorful and soft. To the yogurt you add ¾ cup boiling water and a package of dry yeast, a tablespoon of sugar, salt to taste, ¼ cup butter, a large egg. Mix it all around. Then put in your flour, 3 cups, unbleached. It will be soft and sticky. Knead it until it is smooth. Oil on the hands works good for this.

2. You have to let it rise until double. The back of the cook stove works good for this. Your partner has the house nice and warm, although it is cold and snowing outside. He has lots of wood stacked inside the house. Wood stoves make the best heat. A warm house makes better bread.

3. It takes a lot of onion to make good curry, about two cups. I peel two large onions and dice them, cooked them in oil until brown. I grate the ginger. Have you ever tasted freshly grated ginger? It is pungent and hot. It burns your tongue. Once you have tasted it you won’t want to use ginger from a jar. Then all the spices! Cumin, turmeric, ground red pepper, paprika, garlic, coriander. Add the tomatoes, blended smooth. Add meat, if you like, lamb, chicken, or beef. Add a little water. Cook for an hour and half.

4. When it’s done, make the spinach. Add onions to the spinach and lots of spice.

5. Add the spinach to the curry.

6. Make the rice. It has to be basmati. There is no other kind of rice, is there? To the water add some turmeric, a little bit of fennel, flax, and coriander seeds. Boil. Put in the rice and wait. It’s hard to wait, I know, but you will be busy. You still need to fix the Nan.

7. Punch down your dough and shape the Nan. You will have eight rounds. Bake them at 500 degrees for about 5 minutes. Try to brown them on both sides.

8. Now the rice is ready.

9. Put it all on the table in pretty dishes. Play music by Ravi Shankar. Taj Mahal Beer is the best. But if you don’t have that, try champagne. It doesn't have to be expensive champagne. Ours isn't.

10. Don’t eat too fast, even though you are hungry. Savor it. This has all taken about five hours to do. Don’t rush the actual eating part of it.

11. The champagne will make you laugh. You will clinck your glasses together and make toasts to the two of you. Your partner will eat the bread and tell you to smell the bread. It smells like life, he will say. It smells like you, he will say. Ravi Shankar will be playing in the background. Every time you listen to Ravi Shankar you realize how whole his music makes you feel.

12. Smile when your partner tells you it’s days like this that remind you what a good life you have.

13. Don’t forget about your after-dinner treat. Yogurt, mango, sugar and ice make something called a lasse. This goes will with the movie you watch together, Satyajit Ray’s The World of Apu.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! This meal and the experience of it sound so good. Thanks for the recipe,too! The only thing I'd change is to substitute lentils for the meat. Teagrapple

ggw07 said...

Thanks for the recipes. I can smell the curry!
Gretchen

Erin said...

I love this fabulous description! Sounds like such a treat. :)

emmapeelDallas said...

What a wonderful meal, and wonderful evening. And I do love wood stoves...I grew up with them.

Judi

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