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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sambar, Raita and Naan

If you looked at the title of the post and said, "Huh?!" I must tell you that without even knowing it, your life is lacking and incomplete.  That's right, not to be too dramatic or to put too fine a point on it, you've been missing out COMPLETELY.

Here's the scoop.  Lately I've been feeling a bit under the weather - nothing worth writing home about, but still a bit of unpleasant-ness.  I have been blessed (as I've posted before) with the type of friends that oodles upon oodles of books ought to be written because they are loving, selfless and intensely caring.

One such friend has recently displayed her love and concern for me by bringing me pretty much the best meal you could ever even begin to imagine or dream of.  This beautiful person has roots from the land of flavor: India.  And she brought me a meal of such drastic amazing-ness, contrast and satisfying texture that without proper restraint, it would be possible to eat an entire bathtub full.  In fact, it is a meal that exhibits such wonders of flavor that it is entirely possible for me to imagine having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (although that may be a bit un-traditional to say the least) for weeks at a time.

Sambar is a soup - it is filled with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, green beans, and I don't even know what else.  It's like a mountain of variety.  Then there are the spices used to make it - they are nothing short of an utter PLETHORA.  I've watched her make sambar once - I kid you not - it is like watching van Gogh paint.  It is a fascinating and wonderous show that will enrapture your entire self - the scents, the sights, the sounds.  You get to the point where you can not wait for it to be done because the smell of it is torturous to behold and not to sample.

Then you get to taste it.  It is flavorful with a little kick, warm for your belly and fills your mouth with so many satisfying textures that you have to near audibly warn yourself to please stop sucking it down like you are a wild warthog (for crying out loud, self, people are WATCHING you!).  Oh, but wait - because I haven't told you about the contrast.  This is nothing short of complete and utter culinary genius.  The raita is a cold, cool calmer of your palate - made of whole yogurt and cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and peppers - it holds two complimentary but opposite tastes and textures and temperatures and flavors in your mouth at the same time - it makes you wonder how it is even possible for your mouth to be so entertained and delighted all at the same time.  It is seriously some kind of wild frat party going on in your mouth and you are so entranced by it, you are pretty much crowd surfing.

Naan is a flatbread made of delicious and amazing butter (well, flour, too, but seriously I don't even care about flour if we can talk about butter).  If you have a tendency to be a carb-o-holic, let me suggest to you for your own good that you never try naan.  You will eat maybe fifty pounds of it before you stop and realize what on earth you have just done.   This wonderous naan is dipped into the raita (and the sambar, if you want) for more taste sensation and sheer hedonistic mouth joy.

This was my text to my friend this morning: "Can I get your raita recipe?  I want to make it so I can eat it in a bingeworthy passion lamenting its absence from the bulk of my life."

At one point I imagined myself bathing in raita.  I guess I may have some issues.

All this to say - I don't know what you've got to do to get your hands on some sambar, raita and naan, but until you have, your life is lacking drastic culinary enrichment and I'm pretty sure that even your soul secretly cries out for such delicacies.

Go.  Run.  Then come back and thank me later.

Peace, love and I looooooooooove you, girlfriend!
Ms. Daisy

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