Nay, pilgrim

by CSWSmovie

This is probably the time where I tap the microphone and clear my throat and make an awkward joke about why I haven’t written a real post on this site since Thanksgiving. I imagine, though, that you’re probably more distracted at the moment by #snowpacalypse, #thunderstorm, or any other clever hashtag nickname I’ve seen on my twitter feed in the past few weeks. East-coast friends, how are you faring? I hear things are starting to thaw out a little bit. I’m taking for granted the weather here, and know that the weather adjustment will be a rude one when I return home in a couple of weeks.

It’s an understatement to say that it’s hard to believe the end of this time in India is now rearing its head. It doesn’t seem very long ago I was  baking cakes to relieve the stress of getting everything in order for me to leave. I am dizzy with excitement about reuniting with my family, friends and beloved NYC, but will greatly miss parts of my life here as well. Its been an extraordinary trip, and a much needed one too, I’m realizing.

2011 was rung in a sweaty disco, Bollywood beats mixed with house and hip-hop with our group of Mumbaiites and displaced New Yorkers. There have been trips to Surat in Gujurat, to Amravati in the north-east region of Maharastra, and several trips to the lovely city of Pune. I’ve reunited with Terence, my mother, and friends who have come to visit. I’ve eaten an astoundingly good dinner in the slums of Dharavi, and have felt appropriately fancy drinking tea at the Taj. I’ve discovered the best street food of my life, and have drunk countless cups of chai on overnight trains and street corners. I’ve realized that no cuisine, for me, can get much better than South Indian food, and that no meal will ever be more satisfying than the one your grandmother cooks. I’ve been restored back from sickness after a man hacked open a coconut and gave me its water to drink, and have discovered the joys of fig kulfi and paan-flavored ice cream

Despite the memorable experiences here, though, I’m more than ready to go home to New York. In these final few weeks I’ve been hit with some small pangs of homesickness, and I really can’t wait to see my family and friends again. I also have a long list of restaurants I’m excited to revisit and also try for the first time. New York readers, have you discovered any great new haunts this past winter? I’d love to hear.

Chutney Sandwich

This is a simple, basic sandwich that people here eat as a snack.  As much as I’m a fan of the stacked American sandwich, there’s something  satisfying about the varieties made with thin, white bread, with nary a protein source in sight.

2 slices of thin white bread

a few slices of tomato

a few slices of cucumber

a few slices of boiled potoato

a few slices of boiled beets (optional)

mint – cilantro chutney

salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of chaat masala

Spread the chutney onto both slices of bread. Sprinkle a little salt, black pepper and a little chaat masala over the veggies, and assemble however you wish on the bread. (It shouldn’t be very thick.) Slice off the crusts if you really want to be demure. Cut into four pieces.

Mint-Cilantro Chutney

  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 inch of ginger root, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 -2 tablespoon fresh lime juice (or tamarind juice)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh small green chiles, such as serrano or Thai, including seeds, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder or cumin seeds
  • some black pepper
Puree all ingredients in a blender until you have your desired consistency. Refrigerate when not using.