Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Memories of India
I had originally intended to keep a journal of the trip, but after two days of cycling for 6-7 hours, I lacked the energy to do anything except indulge in my favourite drink at the end of every day - a gorgeous cold (not always!), velvety, sweet lassi - perfect for refuelling the body with a little protein and carbs. Easy enough to make by blending natural yoghurt, ice, water, a little sugar, and for me the addition of roughly ground cardamom just adds the perfect flavour. Mint or mango are also delicious additions.
So my journal entries became bullet points, and these just sum-up what I experienced each day -
Smells - jasmine, garlic, tea, coconut, hot tar, exhaust fumes, cardamom.
Feelings - elation, exhaustion, thirst, humbleness, happiness, relief.
Reactions to us - laughter (lots - we were wearing lycra after all!), hand-slapping, intrigue, staring.
New experiences - cycling 100km+ in searing heat, dining in broken-down shacks, eating jack fruit, eating rice and curry off banana leaves with hands, sharing restaurant with a rat!
Interestingly I really thought I would start to go off curry after the first week, but it didn't happen. And even more amazingly, I have craved it since returning home, so have already cooked myself a couple of curries, dhals, and this, my favourite Kerelan cabbage dish.
Kerelan Coconut Cabbage
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 garlic clove, diced
10-12 curry leaves
1 red chilli, deseeded and diced
2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 medium cabbage, shredded
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
small handful coriander leave, roughly torn
Heat the coconut oil and cook the mustard seeds, garlic, curry leaves, chilli, ginger, spring onion and turmeric, until the mustard seeds begin to 'pop'.
Stir in the cabbage and coconut and toss to coat with the spices. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and continue to steam-fry, tossing from time to time, for 5-6 minutes.
Stir in the coriander, season to taste and serve.