There is a certain electric energy about Old Delhi, that is hardly found anywhere else in the world. Perhaps Djemaa el Fna in Marrakesh comes close. Purani Dilli as it is better known, was the capital of Muslim India from the 17th through the 19th century.
As I ponder what to give people for gifts, since gifts have become such a large part of this season of cheer, I wonder if there is any gift that I can give, that can keep giving forever. I realize that a cookbook has such power. And perhaps can give in ways the giver may never grasp at that time. And the giftee will use long after being gifted it. And so, I share here, some of my favorites, that I hope can inspire you to cook, share and live in a way you may have never thought of.
Here are some images of dishes we at during lunch one afternoon in Delhi. This was an afternoon where we had told mom not to go out of town. Above you can see a photograph of the Arbi Ki Sabzi. Simple stir fry that is sour, spicy, crispy and comforting, all at once. Arbi is the tuber of the colocasia (taro) plant. A plant whose leaves resemble the large leafed Elephant Ear Plant.
Above is the glamorous (who are they fooling/charming?) fountain at the National Museum in Delhi. The capital museum of the capital city of India, dedicated to antiquity. But alas, if you come wanting to see pride in the over-the-top-rich heritage and national treasures of India, you will be coming to the wrong place. This could easily be the center for the study of dust, junk and incompatibility.
What I love most about Delhi in the winter, is the weather, and the vegetables. Our family is lucky to have Panditji, and of course, life would not be the same without this wonderful dish that he prepares. Green peas, in their shell, cooked with a laga-lipta masala, a sauce that smothers the whole peas, and transports you to heaven.
Visiting Delhi, and more particularly my ancestral home, Charlie finds a new love for the Chrysanthemum flowers he finds in my mothers garden, and also around some other homes, and gardens we visit or drive or walk by. This saddens him, for he is one who is not moved by mums back home in the US, and her, he can now like me wax poetic about their beauty.