Mumbai’s buzzing with auspiciousness this month. Dussera (the celebration of the slaying of Ravana) was last Monday, Diwali is in a couple weeks, our calendar is full of Diwali dinner invitations, and our counters are piled with treats- both savory and sweet- sent by well-meaning relatives. We also have a bunch of coconuts lying around. During Navratri last week, H. and I went to the Mahalaxmi temple. My mom-in-law bought me a coconut to offer Laxmi, which I handed to the priest; in exchange (I think) I got a blessed one back. On Dussera day, which we spent in Mahabaleshwar, we split upon a coconut and sprinkled its water on our car’s wheels (we were doing the Dussera puja) and so we had that coconut, too. My mom-in-law had some coconuts at home for the same reasons and a couple nights ago she suggested we make something with coconut milk.
Of course we knew immediately what we were going to cook. With coconut rice on our minds ever since August, last night we set about trying to make our own. We used the recipe for Celebration Yellow Rice from James Oseland’s Cradle of Flavor, and while it was nothing like Buddakan’s overtly rich dish, it was bright and aromatic, each strand of rice plumped with sweet coconut milk and the sprightly fragrance of kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass.