Sunday Snack: Chana Jor Garam

I have had Chana Jor Garam on my mind after my last Faces of India post. I couldn't shake off the need to indulge in some, especially after baking moist fudge walnut brownies for the Boulder Balvihar's end-of-year awards ceremony and picnic.

Boulder Creek
Balvihar picnic by the Boulder Creek, Eben G. Fine Park

We had great weather after a week of incessant rain and gloomy skies, a departure from our 300+ days of sunny blue skies. Seattle bore the brunt of our collective wrath. We love you, Seattle, really! We were just kidding!

Friday Feature: Faces of India

Who: Street vendor
Where: At Chokhi Dhani, a village set up every night, near Jaipur, Rajasthan
What: This street vendor sells one of the most popular street foods, chana jor garam, that has been memorialized in many a Bollywood movie. Fried flattened chickpeas are tossed with onions, green chiles, and cilantro. Each vendor has his secret tangy spice blend that he sprinkles liberally into his mixing bowl, and then douses everything with fresh lemon juice. This street vendor charged Rs. 10 per cone, more expensive than if he were standing out in the streets, perhaps even calling out Chana jor garam, Babu, mein laya mazedar

Friday Feature: Faces of India

Who: Women janitors or sweepers
Where: At Amer Fort (Amber Fort), Jaipur, Rajasthan
What: They keep the fort clean of litter that, unfortunately, no-one thinks twice about tossing on the ground. They also keep the toilets clean. They are all women. Most people walk around them and no-one really talks to them. The two that I spoke with were initially very reluctant to engage but one of them warmed up, while the other remained very suspicious of my motives. It's written all over her face. It has to be a hard life.

Palaces of Stone But Only After Breakfast

Breakfast was never my favorite meal and it has become less so since we moved to the US. Sweet cereals, sweet breads, sweet pastries—everything is sweet. I'd rather have leftovers from dinner for breakfast. Or brunch.

Breakfast in India spoiled me, especially when we traveled, as there was always an enormous spread: idlis, dosas, upma, and the desi omelet. There was a whole bunch of other stuff, too: Chinese pot stickers, cheeses, parfaits, and even cereal but none of us ventured close to those buffets. Why would we? The dosas were made to order as were the omelets!

You could say that the desi omelet is like a frittata that has been folded over. The chef usually has an array of finely diced veggies, meats and herbs you could add to your custom omelet: onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, green chiles, cilantro, bell peppers, ham, chicken, and cheese. It's very tempting to say I'll have everything!

We usually made an early brunch of the breakfast spread and only then, ventured out to see palaces made from red sandstone.

Ornate Columns & Passageways
Ornate columns and passageways

Friday Feature: Faces of India

Who: A scarf vendor and a shoe guard
Where: At the tomb of Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri
What: One sells scarves and colorful thread while the other watches over visitors' shoes; both trying to make a living at Salim Chisti's tomb at Fatehpur Sikri Fort, a World Heritage site.

Thai Cooking Class at Culinary School of the Rockies

I'm taking a break from recounting my India trip to tell you about something I have been wanting to do for the longest time — I signed up for a Thai cooking class, Thai One On, at the Culinary School of the Rockies. My friend Teri agreed to go along with me and it turned out to be a fun evening, led by Chef Suzanne Rudolph who was assisted by the dish-fairies, Jordan and Tiffany.

Tools of all sizes and shapes
Tools, tools, and more tools