Experiences And Challenges

4 Jan

While I’m certain there’s more to my life than blogging and recording my day-to-day activities, especially in the gastronomic area, it’s a privilege to find the time and space to do something like this today; an act I wish became a habit rather than the occasional whim it currently is. Of course that sort of thing requires discipline and a will that’s concrete enough to make one get into the habit of documenting; something I clearly lack even though I’m constantly making mental notes wherever I go or whenever I do something that is worth recording for keeps.

The past few days have been spent exploring the capital city and every experience brims with tales of character, stories laden with history and anecdotes ornate with memories. Delhi is historical in every sense of the word; a city that speaks through its being, a place that has more to tell you at every nook if you’re willing to stop and listen. I’ve been enthralled by its essence as much as it can be repelling, even. Like every metropolitan, here is a city that has space for everyone who cares to stay, explore and take from it all that it has to offer; even the numerous skeletons in its closets from times abound. I’ve never been a big city girl because I haven’t lived in one before. But there’s something so attractive, so magnetic, so enchanting about a big city, its messes included, that’s hard to resist. And it’s something I love, I’ve learnt.

My memories of Delhi go back to my childhood and my associations bring back waves of nostalgia that brim with warmth and a pull that’s hard to resist. It’s astounding how I have zero photographs of my experiences over the weekend that was; it’s simply an affair that’s too enigmatic to have you care about fetching your phone to capture it all. Hopefully there will be many more such experiences of walking the streets and gullies of this city; bursting at its seams with people, food, aromas, dust and of course a kind of dynamism that is only characteristic of India. It’s marvellous and addictive, captivating and fulfilling, soulful and spiritual, filthy yet so cleansing all in one. It’s a feeling very hard to come across and one that’s worthy of an embrace one too many. Perhaps you know what I’m talking about if you’ve visited India’s four ‘original’ metropolises – New Delhi, Calcutta (Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai) and Madras (Chennai).

In between gathering experiences from my adventures outside our house, the challenge of cooking for two and sometimes one, as I’ve ranted about here, is ongoing, much to my fatigue sometimes. It’s a mammoth task because the threat of eating leftovers is much too painful to encounter and one that I don’t wish to cross paths with often (or at all, if I had the chance to). Finding variances in dishes to make something that we will both love and devour (because that’s what I’m gunning for) is a test of my creativity that is often-times successful, sometimes stressful. I’m taking it as a phase of learning so I can go out guns all blazing when the time comes. Of course I haven’t documented this side of affairs either; what with me being terrible and such a sloth, especially in this department. But never have I made such a variety of things to eat under such short spans of time; with the added plus point of devouring vegetables at a rate that astounds even my fussy mind. Call it winter vegetable love for all I know. It also gives me the opportunity to pile the husband’s plate with as many as I can, and then sneakily some more.

Off late, here’s what I’ve been making by the kilograms because we love it and because its all things lovely, peaceful, happy and, well, delicious.

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Hummus makes the world a sadder place; said no one ever.

Remember the million chickpeas I’d soaked earlier on? Well, guess where they came handy! While I haven’t made any notes on measurements, this dish/dip/sauce/goodness of heaven is the easiest thing to prepare.

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I began by soaking and then boiling a portion of chickpeas till they were cooked but not squishy-cooked.

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Then came a splattering of white sesame seeds that I roasted till they were the goldenest and fragrantest. They burn quickly and that’s something we do not want at all. So get them to become a lovely shade of brownish gold to help make tahini that gives you what I can only describe as the ‘boom’ to your hummus.

Blitz the sesame seeds with olive oil till you get a paste that’s thick and slightly runny – hello tahini!

Pile the chickpeas, about a teaspoon of tahini, some grated garlic, salt, a couple tablespoons of the water you boiled the chickpeas in and a very generous drizzle of olive oil and blend till you have the smooth wonder we all love to eat and embrace and dream about. Season with some more olive oil and herbs (if you wish, though there’s a bomb of flavours already in).

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If you’re rationing chickpeas or have boiled way too many than you’d prepared for (like yours truly), store the rest away for other dishes that catch your fancy and curiosity.

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I used my spare stock to make super quick chole (chickpea) preps that are suitable for snacking or even a meal accompaniment.

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I love this challenge and its versatility – it gives me the space to do as I please and more often than not, it’s an extremely rewarding experience. Of course if you’re the type that loves feeding people (and yourself), it’s a challenge and experience worth taking on.

Of course it’s another thing that I do not want to see chickpeas for a long time now.

Except for hummus.

Hummus for life and peace and love.

And hummus for leftover chickpeas you never want to see again.

Haha! Happy new year, folks!

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