A Memorable Meal in Tough Times

My first taste of Indian food was back in the 1980s in Central PA, when I co-owned a health food store with my (then) husband. We became acquainted with a young couple from Bangladesh. The husband was in graduate school and eventually left Lewisburg, PA and moved to nearby State College to receive his graduate degree at Penn State University.

When we visited the couple in State College, they served food that I had never tasted, and it was delicious. (There was no Indian restaurant in Lewisberg at the time, and not sure when State College added theirs.) We ate with a spoon; no fork needed. When I praised the food, the wife said that this was just everyday food, nothing special, but I thought it was delicious enough to serve at a restaurant, which idea she poo-pooed. Fast forward to the present: The Indian restaurant in our town in Bala is also very good, but the best was yet to come, as I was deciding what to write……


My Indian feast, compliments of my daughter and daughter-in-law (See list below)

Last Monday night my younger daughter made more than one dozen Indian dishes from several different cookbooks, aided and abetted by my daughter-in-law, who sent me a list of the dishes and the names of the cookbooks. Each of the 13 dishes, made from scratch, was flavorful as well as colorful, and also healthful because all the vegetables, beans, and grains were organic and made fresh. These dishes contained beets, sweet potatoes, red split lentils and/or moong dal (yellow split mung beans), rice, beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, plus cilantro as a garnish and raita, a yogurt dish to cool the palette. I finished it off on Tuesday for lunch and my husband gobbled up all his lamb vindaloo on Monday night.


During these tough times, I am doing a lot of baking and my daughter has more time to play with food in her kitchen because she is working remotely. The upside of this is that in both households we are more conscious of what we put in our mouths, aiming for good taste as well as good health.


What is most memorable is that I know my daughter cooks from her heart, which means that each dish is made with a secret ingredient: LOVE. I also think that the long ago, first Indian dishes I ate in the 1980s were made with love. So I am not sure why Indian food is my favorite food. Is it because of the dishes or because of the secret ingredient? Does it matter? What I do know is that when the going gets tough, the tough start cooking/baking and because the dishes are all made with love, they are super-delicious!


Here is the list of dishes (some of which are shown above) and sources of Basha’s Indian Feast:

  • Sweet potatoes with ginger & lemon
    • Mustard seeds, red onion, ginger, turmeric, salt, lemon juice
  • Steamed cauliflower with tomato sauce
    • Salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, turmeric, tomatoes, cilantro garnish
  • Beets with mustard & lemon juice
    • Mustard seeds, salt, lemon juice, cilantro garnish
  • Creamed kale
    • Cumin, ginger, onion, salt, heavy cream
  • Moong dahl
    • Turmeric, cumin, lime, onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, coriander, chili powder
  • Red lentil dahl with roasted butternut squash, plus yellow split mung beans
    • Mustard, fenugreek, nigella, onions, red lentils, salt, coriander, chili powder, tamarind paste, coconut cream, plus yellow split mung beans
  • Sprouted bean salad
    • Ellen Sue’s sprouted beans, potato, apple, pepper, coriander, cumin, cayenne, mango powder, lime juice, yogurt, mint chutney, tamarind chutney
  • Cilantro chutney
    • Cilantro, lime, chili, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, salt
  • Raita
    • Cucumber, yogurt, lime, mint, cumin, salt
  • Paleo naan
    • Almond flour, tapioca flour, coconut milk, salt
  • Lamb vindaloo
    • For Alan’s mouth only!


Recipes from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes (Ruta Kahate), Chetna’s Healthy Indian (Chetna Makan), One Spice, Two Spice (Floyd Cardozo), and My Heart Beets (blog).

Special Additional Note from my daughter: All the dishes were grain free, so there is no rice used.

My notes: Except for the lamb vindaloo, the dishes were vegetarian and except for the cream for the kale and milk in the Naan, the vegetable dishes were vegan. Many of them are also Paleo.


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