Saturday, June 27, 2009
Chive Blossom Dahi Bhel Puri
I remember standing in the darkened room of a natural history museum gazing at a sliver of a man encased in plexiglass exposed longitudinally from head to toe. I was about six. There in front of me the way that the blood flows through our body was so obvious; the veins were a red-toned web connecting every element of the organism. There were other pieces-parts in the human body display at that museum. The puzzle of organs that fill our abdomens was shown in a transverse cross-section. These displays made the essential inner workings of man transparent.
In the last couple weeks, interchanges with some of my friends reminded me of these anatomy studies. A long lost friend called me to follow up with work. We spoke for a couple minutes about ourselves, carried on our business and parted ways. Belle was running around and chatting with me, so it was easy to mention that I had a 2 year old, but I didn’t fill her in with anything else that had occurred in the last 6 years. What would I say? I am married; I got another masters; I am happy; I still love food; I picked up new hobbies; I got a job; I got a promotion… Our short friendship was finite, in this case, a grad school snap shot of who I was. She had but a transverse shot of me. And, why change that? There is nothing wrong with those sorts of friendships. They are so in the moment and so low on baggage and context.
The week prior when one of my longtime friends came to town, I asked her over for tea. I have known her for 85% of my life. The longitudinal study that is lifelong friendship is all context. The tea was filled with an ease of rapport, fast memories about who we had been, and enjoyable conversation.
Unlike the easily traceable circulatory system, the path of friendship is impossible to diagram or to show in a museum display. What makes friendship last? What makes it strong?
And onto the food…
When she came over for tea, I made one of my favorite snacks, Bhel Puri. The chive blossoms and cilantro came from our garden.
Chive blossoms are an annual bounty in our garden. When you are ready to eat, just give the plant a nice haircut. I don’t think they keep well, so I just leave them in the yard until I need them. To wash them, I spritz them with water and then pat them very gently with a paper towel. They fall apart; accept it. In this case, instead chopping them, I just pulled them apart for use because I wanted them to not only flavor but liven up the Bhel.
Cilantro can go to flower as well, and actually bolts quickly. So, keep the cilantro in check by pinching back. (Though if it goes to flower, then hold off for the seeds and use those in your cooking.)
This post is also my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging run by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once hosted by Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog .
Chive Blossom Dahi Bhel Puri
In a cast iron skillet, brown:
½ cup cooked chickpeas
2 T red chile
When the chickpeas are cool, add them to:
½ cup boiled potatoes, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup garlic scapes, sliced
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin (or a bit more)
½ tsp chile powder
½ tsp amchur
2 cup puffed rice
1 cup sev
½ cup chopped chive blossoms
Top with yoghurt, tamarind chutney and cilantro/mint chutney