The day before yesterday was my blog anniversary!
What a blog nerd. I didn’t celebrate though. I didn’t even count my views or anything like that. I don’t even know why I write this blog anymore. I mean it’s ruining my life, adding the term “insomnia” to my vocabulary and leaving me obsessed with matching ingredients that I have no idea how to even pronounce. Before I left home in Washington, I made a list of things I would cook in Goa and emailed it to myself. I looked up what was in season first and then thought of what I could match it with. I also strictly instructed my sister to tell her friends not to pluck the guavas from the tree while they were visiting for her wedding. As if they didn’t have better things to do.
Yes, I have become that lady. I have also become that person who walks around internally sulking the whole day if a post she writes disappears (it has happened oh so many times!). Through it all, I strive to become even crazier about underground growing food, a little loopier about leaves and a little more insistent on making friends with every member of the onion family (I win a lot that way!).
Last week, my mother showed me lemongrass growing in her garden. I cut a stem, not knowing if I was doing it the right way.My mother argued that it was the leaves that smelt better but I knew it was the stem. As soon as I cut it, this reserve of lemongrass water poured out of plant and then just sat there. I couldn’t get to it without using a straw or a tiny spoon. I then had visions of lemongrass tea from the worst bakery/deli-esque place in Goa (Carasid…I don’t hold back. Their red velvet cake is not red.) They couldn’t do much correctly other than that tea. That was the same lemongrass water I was about to lose to the sand. It’s in the same sandpit where our childhood wooden swing is. Now used as a litterbox by a certain cat named Bidli, that area once served as our beach, bus, torture chamber and secluded island. The tricks we’d do on that swing…If any adults were watching, they would be mortified. I don’t think our parties have changed much except we’re the adults now. We usually mortify ourselves the following morning.
I didn’t make any lemongrass tea but I did use it in rice. It’s growing in the garden!! Do you know what a big deal that is? It is big. Big big. I can make tea right now. I also grew fenugreek from seeds in the spice containers and they are now growing in a pot right outside the front door. Stop showing off Edlyn. Plants do such strange things. I am so happy to see so many vegetables again. Not just on one day of the week but everyday and not from some warehouse in Central America but from the same fields we drive by everyday.
If anything, the last year has taught me to appreciate what we have right next to us and to love what we have, rather than wish for more. Good food, people, and time. Happy blog anniversary to me.
When I heard the word “amaranth” in the US for the first time, I had no idea what it was. This guy in our kitchen pronounced it as “am–rinth” and he was referring to a grain rather than a whole plant. In Goa, we call the plant “tambdi bhaji” and it’s eaten as a leaf vegetable. It’s high in potassium and it’s all over the place! I’ve yet to see where the seeds come from. Not sure when that’s going to happen yet, what with the world and their sister getting married. I’ll let you kmow if I do.
- ¼ cup peanuts
- ½ cup fresh grated coconut
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tbsp garlic, chopped fine
- ½ cup onion, chopped fine
- 1 tbsp green chilli, chopped fine
- ¼ tsp garam masala (optional)
- 100 gms red amaranth leaves (called tambdi bhaji in Konkani), washed
- Salt to taste
- Juice of half a lime
- Cilantro to garnish
Heat a frying pan or skillet (here in India, we use a tava. It’s a spherical and flat cooking pan.) on medium and add the peanuts to it. Roast them on the pan for 10- 15 minutes until they get darker and they start to release their oils. To the same pan, add the coconut and keep stirring it until it turns light brown in colour. Too much heat and it will burn. Scrape the bottom of the pan from time to time to prevent it from sticking, which it does if you walk away from it. Mix the raisins in with the coconut at the very end.
Put the toasted coconut and peanuts in a separate bowl and chop the garlic, onion and chilli. Next, pour the coconut oil in a pot and turn the stove on to medium heat. Drop the cumin and mustard seeds into the oil. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the garlic and chilli to the oil and stir for about 30 seconds. Pop in the chopped onion next and keep stirring for about a minute, until they turn translucent. If using, add the garam masala powder at this time and stir for a minute. Put the amaranth leaves into the pot next and stir them in with the other ingredients. The leaves will slowly start to wilt and once they do, add in the coconut mixture. Turn down the heat just a little bit and let it all cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in the salt at the end. Once you’re ready to eat, garnish it with cilantro and serve hot on top of rice or with chapati. Squeeze some lime juice over it too.