When I was traveling through Northern India, I spent as much time as possible absorbing the aromas, textures, flavors, and cooking techniques of roadside vendors and food kiosks.
It is amazing to get to watch food prepared in a way that's so connected to cultural creativity.
Try these recipes and food meditation, inspired by the healing culinary gifts of India.
Aloo Saag – Potatoes and Spinach
You will need:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
½ tsp each: salt, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala
1 tablespoon mustard
2 cups spinach leaves
Heat the oil in a large pan.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes and spices.
Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes more.
Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes.
Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan.
Take off the heat and serve with grilled chicken and rice.
Ghee, or clarified butter, is unsalted butter that has been separated from its water and milk proteins. When heated, butter will separate into three layers: the casein, a frothy layer on top; the clarified butterfat--the ghee--in the middle; and the milk solids, and proteins in the bottom.
Heat 1 lb. of unsalted butter in a stainless steel stock pot. When it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low.
Fetch a small bowl and spoon.
Stay with the butter, skimming the foamy white casein that rises to the surface with the spoon. Repeat the skimming process for about 15 minutes, or until the ghee has stopped making any bubbling sounds.
Remove from heat immediately. Strain through a fine mesh tea strainer or cheesecloth into a glass mason jar. This process removes leftover milk solids. Ghee can be used to cook for people who are lactose intolerant.
Allow it to cool completely before closing.
Ghee stores at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.