She's an MK: Missionary Kid. She was born in the U.S. as the first kid of the family and then on her 1st birthday, her parents and she boarded a giant boat to India. Her parents were a doctor and a nurse and felt led by God to start a hospital in the foothills of the Himalayas of Nepal.
India was the first leg of their journey. They spent the first few years near New Dehli (I think) and then migrated ON FOOT into a tiny little village called Dadeldhura, Nepal. It was there that they launched a small hospital and worked it for 30+ years.
My mom and her 3 younger siblings were home schooled in Nepal for the early years. They all learned Hindi and Nepali as second and third languages and grew up eating dahl bhat and curry. Later they were sent to international boarding school in India, and I know for sure my mom spent all of high school in boarding school.
Fast forward to my life, and I grew up with family reunions revolving around lamb curry, aloo gobhi, sag, dahl, roti, and other Nepali and Indian staples. Two years ago Thanksgiving dinner was changed last minute from American traditional to Indian Cuisine made with turkey. It's just how we do things.
And it starts with the right spices. I actually have spices that my mom brought back from Nepal, but they are also found in those tiny little enthic stores you often see next to the local Indian restaurant. Or you can probably find them on Amazon and even your grocery bulk spice department.
My biggest revelation in learning how to cook Indian food: Curry powder is one spice. Like basil is one spice. To make authentic Indian and Nepali curry, there are a total of 5-7 essential spices that include curry powder. Things like curry powder, cumin, corriander, green and black cardamon, black pepper, red pepper, and salt.
Masala is another blend of spices.
I *heart* garam masala.
And this recipe is rich in garam masala. I introduce to you my newest veggie creation.
EGGPLANT CHICKPEA CURRY
served with mild basmati saffron rice
-2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
-2 potatoes, finely cubed
1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
-1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
-1 tsp. curry powder
-1 1/4 tsp. garam masala
-1 tsp. ground cumin
-1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp brown sugar
-3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes -14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons water (only if needed)
-15 oz. can chick peas, drained
-2 cups packed kale, ripped into pieces
-1/2 tsp. salt
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add small potato cubes and saute, turning frequently for 15 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and add eggplant. Saute for 5-7 minutes until browned and soft. Remove from heat. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and spices, brown sugar, and pepper flakes. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and water if wok is really dry. Quickly add chickpeas, potatoes, eggplant, kale and and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors balance. Serve over brown rice (preferably cooked with saffron!)