Friday, September 20, 2013

The First Visit - Kishore's Mom comes to the US - Shrimp Pickle (Royyala Pachadi)

The First Visit - Kishore's Mom comes to the US

This summer Kishore and I had a visit from a very special guest. Kishore's Mom...Amma.

I had heard a lot about her and I won't lie I was a little worried...who wouldn't be!? I mean we'd communicated a few times via Facetime but this would be different...What if she didn't like me, what if there was a lot of awkward silences and misunderstandings (we don't speak the same languages), what if she didn't like my cooking!? So many questions!!!

Kishore told me REPEATEDLY not to worry that everything would be fine, usually that helps but this time it didn't, after all the relationship between Mother and Son is very different then that of Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law.
 After all, I grew up listening to oldies and this was always a staple on WCBS-FM NY...

What if there was some truth in the song? The "what if's" were really starting to pile up, so I decided to go to my Mom and Aunt and ask them how they approached their Mother-in-laws. 
They both gave me good advice; that the most important things to remember are:

 A) Be yourself (Don't pretend to be someone you're not, it will only cause problems later.)
 B) Mutual Respect (You have to give it to get it), and
C) Understand that differences don't automatically mean problems, if anything it's a great chance for learning.

This advice is so simple and so true, and it helped me to put things into perspective. 
So the day came when we went to pick her up from the airport, I was nervous but excited at the same time. The wait felt like forever, then suddenly Kishore excitedly said with a big smile on his face, "She's here! That's Amma! Let me take a pic!" She said, "Hi" and gave us both hugs, it was the warm greeting I was truly hoping for.

Please allow me to introduce....Amma!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Indian Cuisine and SRK - Aloo Matar

Indian Cuisine

My Mom's and both Grandma's cupboards had some interesting herbs and spices in them. Some that were used frequently like Pepper, Onion, Garlic, Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Red Pepper, Paprika, Cumin, Cinnamon, and Cloves. And others that just seemed out of place like Jamaican Curry, and Lavender Salt.

To this day I still believe Lavender Salt belongs in the bathroom cabinet and not the spice rack.

My Mom's friend Sumintra, whom I call my Indian Adopted Mom, introduced me to the spices of India, Bollywood and much to Kishore's chagrin...Shahrukh Khan.
Favorite Bollywood Film: DDLJ.....Sorry Kishore

Sumintra's spices were used completely differently from how I was accustomed too. She made her own spice mix...curry powder...masala. Walking into her house after she had made masala you could smell hints of Cumin, Ginger, and Cinnamon.

All warm enticing scents that made my mouth water. She was nice enough one day to show me how to make lamb curry and gave me a jar of her masala. On many occasions she has been kind enough to invite me over for dinner, to borrow a Bollywood movie, and send me home with leftovers of Pakora, Roti and Potato Curry.

My first Indian Cookbook,
but not the last.
This was my introduction to Indian cooking and from that point I was hooked. This of course led me to buy an Indian Cookbook and try what seemed to be the easiest recipe...

Aloo Matar...aka Potato and Pea Curry....Dreaded by my family

Yup, that was pretty much my family's reaction.
I don't think that the recipe itself was bad, just my execution of it... Pun intended.

It was one of my first cooking experiments with a cuisine I was unfamiliar with.
From this I learned that you can not try a recipe for the first time and expect to be able to adjust it. Stick to the recipe; when you have the basics down THEN, and ONLY THEN experiment with adding a little bit more of this or that.

With Indian food, you have to remember three things:

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