Friday, June 25, 2010

India on the corner

I stopped by a place in town yesterday called Taj Mahal.

Yes, I'm very much still in Virginia, USA. This was a grocery store, not the overly-famous masoleum from all the postcards. I wonder if it irritates Indians to have that rather johnny-come-lately building, lovely as it is, be all that most people picture when they think India.

When I stepped inside, a tall man in a turban strode towards me, a Sikh, I am sure. A wave of fragrant spices filled my senses. I told him I had come for chana flour. He swiftly took me to its place of honor upon the shelf.

How I longed to linger, to pick up the boxes and bags of mysterious things that were emanating these delicious odors, and to read the labels and just wander around. But as usual, I was due home and could not.

As I cradled the bag of chana flour in my hands, for a moment I listened to the chatter in Hindi of the other customers, wishing as I so often have for the superpower of understanding every world language.

The chana helped me complete a delicious recipe for deep-fried string beans. As I sifted together cumin, carom, ginger and the other ingredients, home in my own kitchen that night, the sweet, spicy fragrances filled the air and gave me a peek into the pleasures of that faraway place.

1 comment:

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