"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships."
- Abraham Lincoln
We have had a nice wave of visitors to our house in Las Vegas this summer. It's been a crazy month of, site seeing, chatting, singing, dancing, cooking, and eating. It's really fun to site see because I forget we live in Las Vegas until people come to visit. We rarely head out to all of the attractions when we don't have anyone new to show. Having visitors has been so much fun. It's like we are on vacation too.
The Sakar family cooking an Indian feast. From left to right: Grace, Maya, Gautam, Katie.
You really get to know people when you spend a week with them under the same roof. It's like summer camp. Remember how you formed these amazing friendships with others just because you spent a week living together? That's how I feel when we get to be together with our friends at our house.
This past week, we were blessed with visitors from New Ulm. The Sarkars flew in to stay. A few weeks ago, when Claud and I were in New Ulm, Gautam Sarkar and his girls cooked egg curry for us. It was so yummy. So, when I heard they were coming out to Vegas, I asked Gautam to teach me how to make this dish. He said he would like to teach me how to make egg curry as well as paneer masala and matar paneer. I was more than pleased. Paneer is Indian cheese and is one of my favorite Indian foods. I try not to eat very much cheese, but this was important. This was research!
Katie, Gautam's youngest daughter, and I headed out to the International Market with the list of necessary ingredients to buy what we needed for the meal. Unfortunately, they didn't have paneer. Then, I remembered the Indian market I went to a long time ago. I wasn't quite sure where it was. I had made several failed attempts to find this market in the past. Katie and I went on a hunt to find it once and for all. I was determined. I knew the general vicinity. I drove around in circles for a while and finally stumbled across it. I was so excited.
Time: 30 minutes
1/4 cup canola oil
16 eggs, hard-boiled
1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cinnamon sticks
6 bay leaves
4 tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup water
Heat oil in a large pot. Add the hard boiled eggs. Saut until they are golden brown all over. Remove the eggs and set aside. Add ginger, garlic and onion. Saut for five minutes. Add peppers, salt, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Saut for five minutes more. Add tomatoes and curry powder. Add water. Allow sauce to simmer for five minutes. Add the eggs and simmer for another five minutes. Serve with basmati rice.
I got out of the car and did a little dance of happiness. I may have embarrassed Katie. That's my job. Now, the location is forever embedded into my brain. I could never forget it again. I went straight in, grabbed a cart and started filling it with all of the Indian snacks. Indian markets have the best snacks. Katie might have thought I had gone a bit nuts. She may have been right. Once I had my fill of Indian snacks, nan bread, mango juice, a few types of beans, an enormous bag of basmati rice, and a few spices I asked about the paneer. They had it!! They had several different brands and sizes. I bought tons. The man working at the store told me I could freeze whatever we didn't use. He obviously didn't know me. Freeze itwhat a funny guy.
Katie and I headed back to my house with our loot. I had a huge smile on my face the whole way home knowing we were about to make an Indian feast. I grabbed my camera while Gautam, his girls, and Daphne got to work. Soon, the house smelled like heaven. The onions, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and curry filled the air. I was surprised to see how the egg curry was made. First, they sauted the hard-boiled eggs to give them a nice golden brown color. Then, they placed them into the curry sauce (homemade, of course). Gautam made it all look so easy. It took me several times to get my fried rice to taste as good as his. This egg curry might take a bit of practice too. At this point, Daphne put on some music and we all danced and cooked.
Next, they made the paneer masala and the matar paneer. Masala is the delicious sauce. Masala is usually a combination of onions, ginger, garlic, and spices. Matar is an Indian word meaning peas. So matar paneer is the cheese dish made with peas. It also contains coconut milk and spices. For both of the dishes, the paneer is sauted to a golden brown, like the eggs. Then, all of the other ingredients are combined to form the most delicious sauce. Once it was all cooked, everyone grabbed a plate. You should have seen mine. I had to try everything. Oh my, this was a delicious lunch. Everything was so colorful and flavorful. My plate was completely clean in no time.
There is nothing better than having friends over, teaching us something new (especially when it is food), while having so much fun. This is what happened here. Good Ol' Abe was right, the better part of life is the friendships we create. I am including the egg curry recipe here. I will put the other two dishes on my blog: www.simplyfoodify.com.