This ENTIRE post is about food. So if you’re not a foodie, it’s probably boring. If you are a foodie, stop by. I probably still have leftovers.
This afternoon, while running completely unrelated errands, Annabelle, Lillian and I discovered a new store. We drove by, saw the store and I turned the car around so we could immediately check it out. (You can too. It’s in NE Wichita on Rock Road just south of 37th Street.)
We wandered around for a little while until the owner asked if we needed any help. By that time, we were looking at the foods in the refrigerated and frozen foods section, discussing what looked good and the few foods that I recognized.
He was very friendly and I explained to him that we would be moving to Bangalore in a few months and we were thinking we would like to take home a few foods to try for dinner tonight. He walked us through the frozen foods and told us which ones we would see in Bangalore (Northern and Southern Indian foods are different). We picked out a basketful of frozen foods and then walked with him over to the refrigerated section, so he could tell us about the desserts.
We ended up with at least two meals worth of frozen foods and three small desserts. Here’s what we tried tonight.
First we tried Paneer Paratha. It’s the round food on the right. The package says, “Authentic Indian Bread Stuffed With Paneer Cheese, Onions, Herbs and Spices.” This was great! It was sort of like eating an Indian quesadilla with softer bread. Tony, Annabelle and I loved it. Lillian’s immediate response to any Indian food is to immediately claim that it’s too spicy. This was not at all spicy and eventually, she asked for a THIRD serving. I will take that as approval. Bennett wasn’t a fan. He took his obligatory bite and claimed not to like it. Flynn took a couple of bites and fed his to the dog. Licorice enjoyed it. Licorice sits on the floor between the boys at every meal.
The second item we tried was the Masala Dosa. These are “Crepes Made From Rice And Urad Dal, Stuffed with Flavoful Potatoes and Onions.” It was served with coconut chutney on the side. The potatoes and onions were bright yellow from the tumeric and again, Tony, Annabelle and I all enjoyed the flavor. We did decide that crepes don’t reheat very well, but the filling was nice. Tony remembered that he had these for breakfast while in India last fall. They tasted just the same except for the poorly reheated crepes.
The third dinner item was Surti Khaman, Chickpea Cakes. These were served with a yellow chutney. The cakes were very much like corn bread. They were bland and in need of adornment. With the chutney, it was delicious. We also learned tonight that “Chutney” can be nearly any condiment of spices and/or liquids and/or fruits that you want to blend together.
The desserts were interesting. First we tried the Motichur Laddoo, the round cookies on the left. Last year, I made Atta Laddoo for Lillian’s kindergarten class to try when they studied India, so we expected these to be similar. Atta is wheat flour. (I had chosen this recipe because the ingredients were readily available.) Motichur Laddoo are made from gram flour (not to be confused with graham flour) which is made of ground chickpeas. The flavor was similar, but the texture was like a cookie made from couscous. Delicious, but not everyone in the family could get past the unusual texture.
Next was the green dessert, Pista Katli. Annabelle described this perfectly, “It’s like pistachio favored cookie dough.” This one was great and all of us loved it. It’s also called “Barfi.” I see why they didn’t market it with that name in the US. It can be made with lots of different spices, fruits or ground nuts. From a little research, it looks like you either soak nuts in water and then grind into a paste or you use milk for a thickener and then you cook it with sugar until it forms into a playdough texture. It’s considered a candy. We would definitely try different versions of this. There were others at the store today, but my kids always choose pistachio when given a choice of nuts.
The best part of tasting the Pista Katli was listening to Annabelle and Tony debate the correct name for its shape. It all started because Tony referred to it as a square. He should have known better.
Finally, we tried the orange, Jalebi. I had read about this in a travel guide that I am working through, so I was curious. Plus, it’s cool looking. In the package, it looked like a bright orange, candy coated, funnel cake. The determination from everyone in the family was ICK! There is nothing in it that shouldn’t taste good, but not one of us liked it, not even Tony or I. Collectively, we will eat nearly anything. I can’t believe that I didn’t like it, so I will try it again when I can get it fresh. It is supposed to be eaten hot and ours was not, but there was something weird about the flavor that none of us liked.
I will try to remember to post about the other new foods when we try them. They were things that were a little more familiar to us, so we tried these first.