Meals like this have always been my comfort food.
Spicy vegetable dishes. Dahl (lentils) cooked into a thick stew. White rice mixed in with virtually everything. Yogurt.
No matter how bad my day was, or how lousy I felt, these dishes would instantly make me feel better. So would my mother’s hugs, or my father’s pep talks.
Nothing’s changed on that front. I still crave Dad’s wise words, Mom’s arms, and spicy meals. The only difference is that my arms wrap around my son, my husband and I are the ones delivering the pep talks, and I’m the one preparing these dishes.
These days, I’m rushing into the kitchen at 7 trying to whip up dinner in 30 minutes (while Naleeni gives Rho his bath). I furiously chop vegetables, throw rice in the Instant Pot (which I’m obsessed with), and season it all with a heavy hand.
This is one of the harried weeknight dinners. Mercifully, it only requires 30 minutes to pull together, thanks to this blend and some handy pantry items.
It’s hearty. It’s delicious. And it’s healthy.
It takes like home.
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 5 new potatoes, quartered
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
- 30 ounces chickpeas (2 regular cans)
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 tablespoon ghee (you can also use butter or any high-heat oil)
- 1 tablespoon tandoori masala
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (add more, if you like it spicy)
- 1 lemon
- Greek yogurt
- Rinse rice thoroughly in a colander and cook according to instructions, either on the stovetop or by rice cooker (I use the Instant Pot).
- Add potatoes to a medium saucepan, and cover with 1″ water. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender. Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy water and drain the potatoes.
- While the potatoes are boiling, heat ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add the cauliflower and cook until fork tender. Add the chickpeas, and cook until they’re soft.
- Add the potatoes, the tandoori masala, and the cayenne. Stir until all the vegetables are coated in the spices.
- With a fork or masher, gently mash the potatoes and chickpeas. Add a small amount of the starchy water if the curry is too thick.
- Season with the juice of one lemon and stir again. Serve with basmati rice and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
This meal is best enjoyed with a glass of wine (I recommend a young sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or a spicy cabernet franc). Afterwards, light this candle, wrap yourself up in this blanket, and escape to India with this book (it’s one of my favorites). You may want to light this candle in your kitchen after cleaning up (that is, if you don’t want your home to smell like this meal for the next 3 days…)