I've Never Met a Lentil I Didn't Like!
It's no surprise to anyone who know me that I like foods from different cuisines. I've always been interested in other cultures, and especially in learning how to speak to people from different places in their own language. Mr. Nelson Mandela said it perfectly when he explained why he learned Afrikaans, the language of the prison guards who kept him locked away for 27 years.
I had the good fortune to begin traveling overseas at age 10, thanks to my maternal grandparents who have had a major effect on my life, even to this day!
I made it a game to learn how to greet people in the language of the country we visited, and I enjoyed seeing the colors and sights you can only really see when you leave your home country. Even the smell of diesel fuel reminds me of my childhood travels.
I'm not sure which came first, the proverbial chicken or egg. But, something did hatch inside me when I first boarded the plane for faraway places, and it hasn't lost its hold on me yet.
One of the first places I traveled with my grandparents was India. When I was 11, we started our adventure boarding the Air India jet around midnight (I still have a lingering excitement about late night departures!) after waiting for hours. That's another thing that happened a lot when we were away...lots of waiting!
When we touched down in Delhi, it really felt like a different world. There were SO MANY PEOPLE! I remember the colors most of all. The oranges. The reds. The turquoises and purples. These are my favorite colors to this day. Coincidence? Maybe. The women were all so beautiful in their silky flowing saris.
My grandparents bought me a sari and felt so beautiful, though I was afraid I would trip when I walked! I loved the way the smooth cloth felt on my skin, and I was amazed at how a long 3 1/2 yard piece of cloth could be folded up and made into a such a royal dress!
Fast-forward some 30 years, at my kids' cooking classes, we love to prepare Indian dishes. There are so many vegetarian dishes, since there are over 500 million herbivores in the country of 1.2 billion! Indian cuisine is also kid-approved because there are many types of breads and fried finger-foods that kids love to snack on!
The humble lentil is a big star in Indian cuisine and I adore lentils of all varieties! Aside from being healthy, they are easy to make and inexpensive to purchase!
One of the dishes we made this summer (for the first time) is called kachori. To be honest, I wanted to make it purely based upon the fact that it was so much fun to say! Also, though, I knew that the kids would have fun making kachori because they are in essence fried cheese breads! Who doesn't love fried bread and cheese?
During the summers (and school holidays), I lead camps during which we have a whole menu of foods from the day's region. So we had kachori amidst other iconic Indian recipes such as samosa, chana masala burgers, naan khatai shortbread cookies and chai masala tea! Ahhh, such good stuff!!
The kids really enjoyed all of the foods we made from our Indian meal, and it's no great surprise to me that they loved all the yummy finger foods, cookies and tea!! They didn't just like the chai tea, they DEVOURED it.