Meatless Monday: Entering the Unknown World of Indian Food

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During yoga I tend to avoid arm balances.  I always worry I will break my nose during Crow Pose.  It seems easier to "not go there" then get hurt or humiliate myself.  I never wanted to try the pose, yet I love to watch others balance in the beautiful position.  Recently, I've begun to have the desire to breathe into the graceful hold.

I feel the same about Indian food.  I love the strong flavors and endless option of an authentic Indian buffet on Devon Avenue.  The mixture of spicy tandoori and fluffy basmati rice is an unusual experience for my taste buds. This complex flavor never seems to be something I can duplicate in my own kitchen.

Just as I crossed over into the unknown in my yoga practice, I accomplished a similar feat with deciding to cook Saag Paneer for Meatless Monday this week. A reader of mine suggested a "simple" recipe.  I cringed as I realized I didn't recognize or think I could buy these hard to pronounce ingredients at my local grocery store.

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Another suggestion sent me to a traditional Indian grocery on Devon to search for fenugreek and panir.  After dragging my husband and children north, defeated we came home empty handed.  Luckily, my Whole Foods had everything I needed and I am thankful the helpful employee led me on a scavenger hunt throughout the store for my necessary items. 

 

 I felt overwhelmed before cooking the meal, similar to my apprehension of trusting all my weight held up by my arms.  The entire process took about an hour and was easier than I anticipated.  I enjoyed watching as the fresh vegetables and herbs transformed into a familiar smelling dinner I have eaten many times in Indian restaurants.

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My kids would not eat the Saag Paneer, although I wasn't surprised. It can be intense for immature taste buds, but they did enjoy the Naan.  My husband ate a large portion and rated it a 7.5 out of 10.  He said the extra .5 was for uniqueness.

 I tell my kids it is ok to be scared. Sometimes being afraid gives an incentive to push through the emotions and prove you can experience and excel, or even fail. This meal gave me confidence to cook other types of ethnic foods with unfamiliar ingredients.  As my body steadies, while resting my knees on my arms in Bakasana, I no longer am scared.  I am proud I tried a new pose, a new recipe and hope to continue to not be intimidated of trying new things.

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