Back in the kitchen after a long journey

I don’t have enough words of praise and awe for the delicious food of India, but after nearly five weeks in the Subcontinent, there was something to rediscover once back in my kitchen on the other side of the world. Returning to make those personal comfort foods, I realized which foods would be requested before facing the firing squad to pay for my crimes.

There is something about dark baby greens, dressed with a the right alchemy of oil and a touch of acid (lemon and vinagre) — laced with herbs, garlic and roasted seeds — and served with a silver of a strong, fine cheese that can stand up to a glass of red wine that rebalances me. I call it my tridosha salad — referring to the three elements of earth, fire, and air, as described by ayurveda and clearly found in combination in my salade vert.

I find these crisper, simpler, raw flavors lacking in my beloved Indian food, along with the use of fresh beans and, in general, the use of herbs that are so emphasized in European cuisines, unlike India where spice rules in India.

For a fresh bean stew with vegetables, I’ve found a way to harmonize two continents by spicing it with only a touch of cumin, red pepper, and dry coriander seed masala, just far enough not no overpower neither fresh sage or thyme, nor the more delicate flavors of fresh beans.

And I could not help serving it with a recreation of the simple lemon-coconut rice I had tried in South India. 😉

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A native of Chicago, Ricky Toledano has lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for over twenty years as a writer, translator and teacher. [a]multipicity is multi-lingual collection of reflections through the humanities.

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