Last night my mom came over for dinner. She’s here in India for some time, and it’s really great to have her around, especially after not seeing her for five months. Hrishikesh was out at a golf event so it was just my mom, me, and a big bowl of coleslaw on the table. I never made a coleslaw before I moved to Bombay, but since it’s a lot easier to get cabbage here than it is to get lettuce, I now make it instead of salad whenever I want to eat something raw and fresh.
I’m a bit afraid of mayonnaise, at least the store bought kind, and I haven’t yet tried making my own. Something about the glossy off-white substance is…unsettling. So I make my coleslaw dressing with strained yogurt, which I find far more reassuring, generally and also, nutritionally. Tied up yogurt, slowly drip-dripping water for a couple hours, is preferable over the jar of Kraft’s mayonnaise in our fridge. You can add the water from the yogurt in soups- it has a nice sour edge, and it’s full of protein. And using strained yogurt, which is wonderfully creamy and thick, makes the coleslaw a fantastically healthy dinner.
In my coleslaws I like to add a handful of dried cranberries or cherries for a bite of tangy sweetness amidst the creamy, salty dressing, and sometimes I sprinkle ground almonds on top of a dressed bowl, to give the salad a little more body. The yogurt dressing is mustardy with nice floral notes from the celery seeds, and just the slightest bit sweet, but definitely not sweet and gross the way I imagine pre-packaged coleslaws to be.
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Oh, toppings. Something about seeing a list of toppings makes my eyes gleam. I tend to want too many. On a veggie burger I want caramelized onions and a sharp cheese and mushrooms and pickles and jalapenos. On an ice cream sundae I want walnuts and hot fudge and strawberries and whipped cream and broken bits of oreo cookies. Basically, I convince myself that if I choose just the right combination of toppings, I’ll have the most fabulous dish ever. Or, maybe I’m just greedy.
This worries Hrishikesh. At Indigo Deli, where we sometimes have lunch, the prices of toppings are ludicrously expensive relative to the cost of a burger, and usually add up to be more than the veggie burger itself. At Brightlands, the pizza toppings are similarly priced. So I limit myself to two, (ok, sometimes three), toppings per dish.
But when I’m making pizza at home, I can have as many toppings as I like. What fun, and what freedom. Hence this excessively topped pizza, which was indeed fabulous.
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Quick review of the revamped, newly opened Golden Dragon at the Taj Mahal Hotel. We went there with high expectations but left sadly disappointed. Following the typical trajectory of Mumbai restaurants, the menu sounded fantastic but the dishes failed to live up to their descriptions.
The Black Pepper Dumplings from the dim sum menu were four mixed vegetable dumplings encased in a doughy skin, floating in a watery broth. Unfortunately, I was unable to detect the black pepper in the dumplings or in the broth.
We also ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms in 5 Spice Sauce, which our waiter told us was a “signature dish.” But the bland mashed potatoes stuffed into mushroom caps, surrounded by glazed, slippery bok choy failed to whet our appetites.
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