Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goan treasures

Isn't it great when someone else does the cooking? My dear friend Ilene was eager to share some Ayurvedic recipes she had mastered on her recent trip to Goa, the small island state in India.

Ayruvedic recipes? According to one website I consulted:
 Ayu is life and Veda means knowledge. Knowledge of Life is Ayurveda. Pretty straight forward, no?

The basic concept of Ayurveda is to create meals that help balance our systems and encourage good health; all good things!
The stage is set for an evening of spectacular eating.
Ilene's cooking event was designed to showcase the amazing flavors of Goa with ingredients she had carefully stowed in her luggage and brought home. Most of what she served I had never seen before, but everything tasted beyond wonderful; oh, how fun to try new dishes!
 Pani Puri anyone? These cracker puffs were the first step of our appetizer. To prepare, you poke a hole in the center of the puff with your finger and fill it with a mixture of chickpeas, potatoes and spices.
Next, top each filled puff with a dollop of plain yogurt.
To finish, each puff gets a drizzle of tamarind chutney, cilantro chutney and a sprinkle of some type of topping that resembled crushed shredded wheat. The result was something unfamiliar, but delightfully tasty. Crunchy, savory and subtly spiced. A perfect meal starter!

 The recipe for this gorgeous cauliflower calls for a topping of raisins soaked in red wine vinegar, and then pureed with white chocolate and a hit of chili powder. 

The show stopper of the meal had to be the whole roasted cauliflower. I had never seen a presentation quite like this before. It is not strictly Goan or even Ayurvedic for that matter, but Ilene felt it worked nicely with her meal and it had the right amount of surprise and drama to impress. Indeed!
The dinner guests quickly dove in! Check out the recipe 
not exactly "easy" but certainly worth the effort.
 This red was perfect with the robust flavors of the cauliflower.

The wine, a delicious 2006 Chateau Cap de Faugeres Cotes-de-Castillon, was flowing and it was hard to keep up with the multiple dishes that kept coming out of this tiny Brooklyn kitchen. Ilene is a fearless cook who makes her guests feel pampered and cared for. We left the table smiling and more than satisfied. Perhaps even a bit more balanced and closer to good health too!

The cook of the evening emerges from the kitchen in SEQUINS! and we share a hug.

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