I’m off to India this week. I haven’t been back at this time of the year for a long time. And my baby girl hasn’t been back at all for an equal amount of time. We are so excited to do all things Indian! The food, the henna and all things bling. The hustle bustle, the fragrances. A total opposite to Holland. None is better or worse. Its just so poles apart.
But, its weird living in 2 countries. Which place do you call home? Neither, in my case. I feel much like a tourist. I come and go. It is very liberating and tough all at the same time. It is though the ultimate sense of freedom in my head.
I was afflicted by the wanderlust bug very early on. The thrill of going places and discovering new things was a high like none other. I used to save all year, be frugal to the point of annoying, just so I could go somewhere. My dad used to be in the army and even though we didn’t really move to different cities quite as much as my other army friends, I was never sad or unhappy to leave a place. The thought of a new house, new friends, new everything was hugely exciting to me.
To be honest, I have never really felt home anywhere. And even though I may own a passport of one country, I really don’t belong to any. This doesn’t mean I don’t have my patriotic outbursts from time to time. I love the essence of India but not because I come from there. I think I love Holland just as much for some of the things it affords me. Just as much as I hate it for the things it doesn’t. I think that’s true for anything in life. I’m not sure what people mean when they say ‘put down roots’. Does that mean stop discovering? Or does it mean being content in where you are. And again like everything else, I guess its different for different people.
I am setting off my trip with an Indian snack that mom used to make for me as a kid, very often, since it is easy and very quick. It’s healthy, light and quite satisfying. It made me think of her and all those wonderful years, growing up. That is a good thing. And, I’d never made it before.
1 1/2 cups flattened rice/poha
1 potato, diced small
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tbsps unsalted peanuts
2 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
8-10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp jaggery or plain sugar
handful of cilantro leaves
fresh lime juice
salt to taste
Soak the flattened rice for 3-5 mins. Drain in a colander and set aside. Heat oil in a pan. Throw in the asafoetida, then mustard seeds. As soon as they start to sputter, add diced onion and green chilies. Fry until translucent.
In a non-stick pan, cook the diced potatoes in a teaspoon of oil till they soften, around 10-15 minutes. Add turmeric, sugar and curry leaves. Stir for 2 minutes and then add the nuts and the cooked potatoes. Saute until potatoes are done. Add the flattened rice and salt and mix thoroughly. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the gas, cover the pan and let steam for another 5 minutes.
Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro leaves and lime juice. Serve with a hot cup of ginger chai. Perfect for as a snack or a light breakfast!