The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: comfort (page 1 of 3)

Winter Yearning

I am looking to find a name for this yearning,
that emerges on a late winter night,
or early dawn.

When it gets cold and chilly, and the desire for comfort commingles with the one for warmth and closeness,
Hands go forth searching, the fingers clasping, curled up into each other,
Bodies curve inward, fitting like two crescents, soft and curved, curled and shaped.

The comforter and quilt and warm woolen blankets all get merged and layered,
coming together, never pulling apart.

It is the state between sleep and wakefulness, it is a half-dream, a silent conversation,
It is home and warm breaths and half-murmured imaginings, am I dreaming or is this real?
Perhaps I am recounting a dream.

But now I am gone again,
and we drift off into this half-lit, humidified quiet, warmed and whirring heater space.

My Sweet Home

I love my home, I really do. But it wasn’t always this way.

When we moved in seven years ago, I was stumped. I had never lived in such a large house earlier and had no idea about decor, furnishings, interior design… all that stuff. So some parts of the house remained in darkness, metaphorically speaking. We simply didn’t know what to do with all those rooms. (Truth be told, ours is not a very large home, relative to the homes of our friends.) So we hung up cute Indian knick-knacks and tchotchkes all over, bought pictures framed from India, nailed little decorations up on the walls… but it felt like we (or I) were trying too hard. The house was not very happy, I’d imagine.

Anyway, long story short… we now have a lovely home. It is beautiful, radiant, shining and warm. We have faded couches, squashed cushions and pillows, walls that need a coat of paint (or two), yellowing blinds, a carpet that is in dire need of replacement. And the list goes on. But I love this place, so very much… with all its sunny corners, little piles of books on side tables, an overflowing bookshelf, brave house plants, brimming laundry baskets, cluttered bathroom, etc. I love our home because it is the space P and I inhabit with our bodies, minds, energies and intentions.

Home

It is a place of sunshine, love, warmth and serenity. When I think of my home, the words that come to mind are comfortable, friendly, equal parts shabby and chic and classy, cozy, a delightful mess, a graceful sense of disorder. And that about describes me as well. Meaning my home is a true representation of my personality, a fair and unbiased one, an authentic extension of who I am.

It is me. And it is P as well.

A special mention of the kitchen, one of the oft-used rooms in the house, the site of many cooking experiments and preparations, major baking projects, minor accidents, spectacular spills and like… 🙂 Such a blessing to eat and feed home-cooked food… there is not one restaurant on the planet that can even aspire to delivering anything remotely close to that level of quality, taste, flavor, nourishment and satisfaction.

A Hefty Dose of Protein, Greens on the Side: Spinach and Moong Dal

Here is an adaptation of a recipe that I found in Madhur Jaffrey’s memoir Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India. Madhur Jaffrey’s version is more feisty with its inclusion of chickpea flour, green chillies and onion. I kept mine simpler. Also her version called for cooking the greens in the pressure cooker. I opted to chop them and add to the dal when it was boiling.

Spinach and Moong Dal

Ingredients (makes a meal for two when eaten with rice)
2/3 cup green moong
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 – 3 dashes of asafoetida (hing)
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 small bunch of fresh spinach, chopped fine
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 – 6 slivers of fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ghee
2 – 3 squeezes of lime juice

Method

Cook the moong with twice the quantity of water in the pressure cooker.

After cooked, open the lid of the pressure cooker. Add water to the cooked moong dal, bring to a slight boil.

Add the chopped spinach to the boiling moong dal.

Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat. Let it simmer.

In a small frying pan, warm ghee. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric, ginger and fenugreek seeds. When the seeds are brownish-red in color, add the dried fenugreek leaves.

Take off the heat. Add the ghee-spice mixture to the dal.

Turn off the heat.

Add a couple of squeezes of lime juice.

Serve with steaming brown basmati rice and a side of lime pickle… Yum!