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October 10, 2002
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Indian Food

10:15 pm: I made Indian food tonight, okay and for most of the afternoon, too. I have a bunch of extra hours this week for work, and after a very productive morning, Jet napping for nearly two hours, and getting two major tasks done, I was tired of work.

So when Jet work up, we had some lunch and then I soaked split mung beans (moog dal), which I actually had from Mom. She'd sent them for soupy rice, but I haven't used them and when I saw that the Indian cookbook that David gave me had a recipe for dry mung bean dal, I decided to make it.

I also mixed up some naan bread dough with yogurt, egg, and a touch of baking powder. There was everything in it that I had always thought naan 'should' have, and the dough was good and sticky when I moved it to a rising bowl.

I then got to play with Jet for a good long while as it rose. Jet came over and 'helped' me shape the naan while the oven heated up. He poked them nicely and gave them texture. I also sliced onions, smashed garlic, and cut up a potato while thawing frozen spinach. There was a frozen spinach and potato recipe that sounded intriguing, and it, the dal, the bread, and the leftover smelt curry sounded like they'd be good together.

I started the potatoes, first, with onion and garlic and brown mustard seed. The one problem with Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking book is that some of the ingredients have their British names, rather than American names. I wasn't really sure if black mustard seed is the same as brown mustard seed here in America. They're both brown little seeds. So I took the chance, and tossed the seeds into hot oil and they popped just as advertised. I then threw in onion and garlic and let them saute for a bit before tossing in the potatoes, salt, cayenne, and a bit of water for steaming. I lidded it completely and started baking the first of the naan.

I'll admit that I didn't set a timer for the breads. They came out whenever I remembered them, got tucked into the toaster oven for broiling (grilling) until the tops were brown, too.

When the potatoes were going, I set up the dal with a paste of spices fried in hot oil before the soaked, drained beans went in and got coated with all the good-tasting things before I threw in water and salt. That got set back on the back burner to simmer while I kept going with the breads. I also waited until the last ten minutes to get the thawed spinach and press all the water out of it before adding it to the potatoes. When everything was early cooked, I browned some butter and tossed the dal with it. I heated the smelt curry through, and we had dinner.

Jet ate whole handfuls of the mung beans even before they were cooked. He ate more of them once we sat down to dinner and he seemed to enjoy them quite a lot.

Jet had actually spent the whole afternoon eating. He ate nearly a whole Clif bar, drank half a low-sodium V8, ate crackers right out of the box, ate Life out of the box, and drank water and milk whenever he came across his sippy cup. While I was eating, he wanted to nurse, and I let him but didn't let him go to sleep, which got him pretty mad. We finally gave him a bottle of milk and that calmed him down enough to settle in John's arms and do other things.

Whew.

He took his bottle with him into his bath. Hee. He loved his bubble bath, again, and afterwards was all energy. He loved playing with my gaming dice. He transferred them between a pitcher and a measuring cup nearly a hundred times, and then started in on my cube of tiny dice. He'd dump them out and then stack them back into the box into their spots. He loved doing that over and over and over again, occasionally losing a die or two.

He went back to doing that for a while after his bath. Finally, I had to take him upstairs. He was really hot in his winter sleeper. I think that with all the cooking and baking I did and a far warmer day, it was much warmer in the house. So we changed him back into his summer PJ's and this time he wet to sleep, no problem. I was very glad of that.

I really enjoyed today's adventures with the new experience with Indian cooking. Doing a few dishes I'd never heard of before and having them turn out well was really cool. I really enjoyed the dishes that I did make, and John liked them as well. The variety really interested him.

I think that I have a rudimentary grasp of Italian, Chinese, and American food. I've expanded on my Mexican food abilities between living here where there are so many Mexicans and watching Rich Bayless on PBS. Now I have a whole new land of foods opening up and it's really neat. I'm enjoying it tremendously. This is what I think of as fun. It didn't hurt that it was a no red meat meal, low in fat and very, very high in flavor. I'm using spices I enjoy and getting some good warmth. Mmm... This is a cuisine that is exceptionally suited for vegetarian eating. I'm liking that.

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Copyright 2002 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.