Happy Diwali everyone!
Especially to my girls in Toronto and London! Some of my best friends back home are South Asian and I have fond memories of Diwalis (the festival of lights), during the university years, spent wandering around Toronto’s Little India (or probably more appropriately Little Pakistan), stuffed and super-satisfied from a meal at Lahore Tikka House, but still going for more kulfi (even in the winter), Kashmiri chai and getting an awesome education in South Asian cuisine – from the different regions of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and even IndoChinese Hakka fusion cuisine from my friends. Conversations entailed topics from the pros (taste!) and cons (calories!) about ghee, to how hard it is to replicate mom’s daal.
D and I got the craving for some curry last night, and so, as an ode to Diwali, we decided to go searching for Indian food in the Deutsch countryside. And can you believe we ended up finding Pizzeria Da Nandha? Yes! It’s a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, Indian-owned Pizzeria in the tiny (but very foodie) town of Echzell. They serve pizza…and Indian classics like daal and aloo gobhi! They don’t have a tandoori oven, sadly, but they did manage to make a pretty good naan for us with pizza dough, instead! And it was delicious, but will probably never be able to follow my trips to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the roti houses of Kuala Lumpur or the kitchens of my friends’ families and finally getting to soak in all the homegrown flavours and culture. D and I were just fantasizing about future homes and how cool it would be to spend some time in India…
But back to the actual topic of this post….Indian and other South Asian cuisines! It’s just so darn hard to replicate these amazing tastes, flavours and colours; much like all the trouble I usually have with Chinese food. But I found a couple of amazing food blogs that break it down so you can bring momma’s home cooking right to your own table.
Sunshine & Smile just does it perfectly! Kankana explains all the steps for her delicious dishes so simply and supplements all the steps with great pictures. It’s kinda like SmittenKitchen for Indian food! I’ve already spotted a recipe for Achari Murg/Tangy Pickled Chicken that I can’t wait to try out.
(Samosas!!! Photo by Journey Kitchen)
And for the more anthropologically minded, there’s Journey Kitchen, a blog which takes you into the past and the future of Indian cuisine. Kulsum has amazing photographs and an anthropologists eye for food history and culture, especially when it comes to Bohra cuisine, the culture from which she hails. And like Kankana, she also breaks it all down for you step by step and even brings some flair in with her modernized Indian recipes too.
Oh, and before I go – my favourite Bollywood dance number from the classic Dil Se! I love the idea of traveling through India on the roof of a train!