I am working on a recipe book especially for busy mothers. I feel grateful that my friend, who is a busy young mother, is experimenting with my recipes and my techniques to make them fast.
I am going to include some stories with the recipes. Here is one that I will include with the recipe “quick and simple Indian“.
When I was nineteen I traveled with only a back pack as my companion first to Europe and then after quickly tiring of Germany I spent a year traveling around Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka by myself. It took me about three and a half months to get to India because Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan were just too interesting to travel through quickly.
The first place I visited in India was Amritsar, home of the famed Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple. This was a wonderful place because every day two meals were served to the hungry of the town consisting of dahl and chappaties. Here is a neat description of Dahl which is an northern Indian staple.
I still remember clearly the inspiring experience of having a free meal at this beautiful temple. First we lined up outside the expansive hall. At the signal, we would file in and take our places on the concrete floor. Then servers would do their efficient work. First, a banana leaf placed in front of each person. then , a generous serving of dahl. Finally, hot, freshly made chapatti’s (wheat tortilla) were dropped on the “plate”.
Because utensils are customarily not used in India, we would use our chappati’s. Tearing off a small piece, I learned to to scoop up the dahl with the tasty flat bread, also a staple in the Punjab area of India. Of course I would lean way over to get as close to my food which is on the banana leaf on the ground so that I did not drip the spicy hot curried pulses on my shirt.
We could have seconds. I often did because it was so tasty–not because I needed it. Soon we all left the fragrant room and I often went out to look at the beautiful lake where the golden dome of the temple was reflected and where swans swam serenely.
I was able to sleep at the Golden Temple dormitories for free as well. What a generous people these Sikhs were. I loved my stay there–and I had a hard time leaving. Of course I strayed from the temple to visit the sites of Amritsar often taking a bicycle rickshaw.
And once or twice I visited the kitchen and helped make chapattis. The ladies were thrilled to have a foreigner join them.
I ate dahl all over India–especially in the North, and I always loved it. When I returned to American after thirteen months of traveling, I learned how to make Indian food because i loved it so much.
I hope you will make dahl and have your own great experiences. Maybe you could do some research on the stuff and share it with your kids, friends, or hubby. I think it is a great things to learn to make and like the staples of other countries. And it can be a wonderful cultural and historic lesson.
I’ll soon be sharing my favorite recipe for dahl, but in the mean time, I found this slow cooker recipe that says it only takes ten minutes. I need to check this out myself!
I would love to hear your experiences with dahl and other staple foods.