I am living away from home and recently travelled on a work trip which pushed me further away from home.
It was exciting and magical to visit a new country with all its glorious culture(more on that in another story), but I’ve never felt so far away from my safe space, my comfort, my home.
The one thing keeping me calm was knowing that it was temporary. Sure enough, days had passed and I was back in London.
Tired and stressed out, I went back to my apartment and opened the door to be surprisingly welcomed by a smell of, you guessed it, food!
My roommate was thoughtful enough to have prepared not just food, but a beautiful Indian vegetarian comfort dish called Muttar Palak Paneer(which roughly translates into “peas and spinach panner “).
Palak paneer is a vegetarian dish from India, consisting of paneer in a thick paste made from puréed spinach and seasoned with garlic, garam masala, and other spices.
It is best eaten with chapatis and that is exactly what I ate. Content with extremely happy.
It had been a break from the kitchen during my travels and I was waiting to get back in. I decided to cook the very next night and continue the comfort food spree. I whipped up the following simple, yet extremely comforting dishes:
1. Chilli potato fry
2. Rajasthani dal
3. Steamed rice
Chilli aloo(potato) recipe;
1. In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and ghee
2. Once the mixture is hot, throw in a handful of mustard seeds, tumeric, red chilli powder, salt and chopped garlic.
3. Add the chopped potato and stir( note that the potato must be chopped into small half inch cubes)
4. Once stirred, add a pinch of cinnamon and dry mango powder and finally fry till the potato is cooked through and slightly crisp on the outside.
Rajasthani dal is usually known as Panchratna dal as it contains five different lentils. However, I had only two types in my pantry at the moment so I had to make due with it.
1. Wash the lentils and place in a pressure cooker with a pinch of tumeric and salt. Boil till the mixture becomes a mash.
2. In a frying pan, add a tablespoon of ghee and cumin, cloves, cardamom and a big handful of dry red chillis.
3. Fry till lightly brown and then add a pinch of grated ginger, chopped tomato and garlic masala.
4. Add the tempered mixture to the boiled dal and serve with hot steaming rice.
To add to the list was a lovely prawn rava fry and prawn curry made my a good friend of mine who joined us for dinner.
We laughed and talked the entire night over this delicious feast and it left me feeling so glad that although, I am away from my home, I feel comfort.