If you could turn back time, what would you do? Me? I'd learn to cook.... from my mother and both my grandmothers, all of whom were terrific cooks. But, you know, when I was young, I had more important things to do (NOT!) ... like talk about boys, clothes, boys and movie stars.
I swear, if I have a daughter I would get her interested in cooking ... whether or not she wanted to learn. Chain her to the stove I will (NO, I WON'T) or lock her in the kitchen (No, I REALLY WON'T). I'll just sit her in front of the TV with me as I watch episodes of Junior Masterchef and Top Chef ... am sure she'd be inspired.
Or, I could chain her ... NO! I AM KIDDING.
So anyways, because I never spent much time in the kitchen growing up, I have no idea how to make many of my favourite dishes. I've tried to re-create them based on how I remember them to be but they always fall short.
My only lifeline is my older sister. She got with the programme early and so she has learnt how to cook a variety of Indian curries and dishes from not just our mother but other people's mothers too. Every time I need a recipe, I call her. Repeatedly.
Recently we had a small family reunion luncheon (it being Chinese New Year and all, we decided to have our own reunion) and my sister made Raita, a North Indian condiment/dip/sauce that is made with yoghurt, spices and a range of vegetables, mostly raw. Hers was made with lady's finger/okra and it was meant to accompany the briyani rice I made.
It was delicious.
And this for a person (ME) who doesn't particularly like lady's finger.
I got the recipe off my sister the very next day and bought a bag of lady's finger from the grocer. And some yoghurt. Plain, unflavoured. (My sister makes her own curd but that's a lesson I'll have to learn another day).
Lady's Finger Raita
3 cups plain yoghurt
10 lady's fingers, sliced thin
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
oil for frying
1 tbsp ghee
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the lady's finger slices till crisp. It's ok if they get brown; just as long as they're crunchy. Don't let them get black though!
Heat the ghee in saucepan and fry the mustard seeds until the pop.
Combine all the ingredients together (including the ghee from the pan) and mix. Season with salt and sugar (adjust to taste).
Goes well with briyani, rice pilaf or just on it's own!