1.30.2013

Masala Papad


I have had it up to here with chargers and wires and electronics.  And by "up to here", I mean really high up, because I'm 5'10".

 
I just recently had to get a surge protector near my nightstand to accommodate technology. 



This is how the day starts: I wake up to my very obnoxious Android cell phone alarm clock which is connected to a charger, connected to the surge protector, connected to the wall.  I put on my charged Nike Fuelband (think of a REALLY expensive pedometer) and walk to the bathroom.  I pick up my electronic Sonicare toothbrush (since when has brushing teeth become too labor intensive?) while reading Top Stories Huffington Post on my smartphone.  It's very important that you do not make eye contact or converse with your spouse.  You can't get along with each other if you actually talk to each other.  Next, I wash my face with a Clarisonic Mia, which is like a Sonicare sized for your face. Then through the day, there's my Nook color, HP laptop, ipod shuffle, and camera battery.  I'm one USB-chargeable bladder away from being a robot.






How did I function B.C. (Before Cyberspace)?  If I mentally thumb through a rolodex of old memories, I find one specific entry that is, by now, yellowed around the edges.  I immediately think of the summers that my mom would take my sister and me to India and we would visit my mom's sister (Masi).  Going to Masi's house is the best because a Masi is just like your Mom minus consequences.  Our cousins, Neel and Sejal, are really close to us, which made it extra fun.  Between summers we would write letters to each other...not many, but some to stay minimally in touch.  During our visits, we would always play outdoor games like "Thuppo" (which mean "Base"... same as playing 'tag') or 7 Stones.  Another game we would play is Nadhi-Parvat (which means "Land-Water").  You have designated spaces for land, which are safe, and designate spaces for water, which are unsafe, where you can be tagged.  (My description of how to play these games could not be more lucid, I know.)  We would be running outside on scorching concrete, burning calories, sweating, all without the need for supervision, pampering, or pedophile alert.

I bet if we traveled to the Moon or to Mars, it would look like this but not as Gluten-Free
 
On rainy days, during the onset of the Monsoons, Mom and Masi might have been cooking bhajiyas in Masi's kitchen while we would play cards.  Man, did we play cards.  It was fun, intense and competitive.  They would teach us Indian card games that they knew like Sath-At (7-8) or Do-Teen-Panch (2-3-5), and we would teach them card games from the states, such as Spit.  Their card games are named after numbers and ours are named after bodily fluids we voluntarily secrete. 

Occasionally Masa (Masi's husband) would play with us too and that was a lot of fun.  He knew so many more card games.  One was called Masala Dosa, but I don't even know how it was played.  It does, however, remind me of an appetizer he introduced to me, called Masala Papad. 

Masala Papad is a gluten-free, fat free, and vegan appetizer and you don't have to be plugged in to participate...unless you feel like Instagramming, Tweeting, or Facebooking a photo of it before you inhale it.  Just don't forget what is really important.  Real conversation, family, and friends.... and a job that pays the bills.  There's no app for that.  Yet.


 

Masala Papad
 
When you make Papad, little pockets are formed waiting to be noticed.  A mix of cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion with a little seasoning goes a long way!
Prep: 5 minutes!
Gluten Free; Vegan; Fat-Free

Ingredients:

2 sheets (disks) Urad Dal Papad (aka pappadum)
1 Roma Tomato, finely diced
1 Scallion (Green Onion), thinly sliced*
1/2 English cucumber, finely diced
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
juice of 1/4 lemon or juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1.  In a medium sized bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, scallion, cilantro, pepper, lime/lemon, black pepper, and cumin  (Add salt only minutes before serving.)
2. You can make papad (a) in a microwave or (b) on an open flame:  
(a) Put the Papad sheet in the microwave and cook for 1 minute.  That's it! My microwave takes up to 2 minutes sometimes, depending on brand or temperament of my microwave  
(b) You can turn on a gas stove on low or just above low. Lightly grip a pair of tongs, and gently "flip-flop" the papad front to back to front to back, etc.  You have to do this quickly - you don't even have time for 1 Mississippi.  Move the tongs gently along the rim as you go so that you don't have any uncooked regions.  You will start to see bubbling pockets of air (really cool, huh?) and the color of the papad will look much lighter and brighter.  Once the color is uniform, you're done.  
3.  Just before you are ready to serve, add salt to the cucumber mixture.  Top each papad with the cucumber mixture tableside.  Papad can get soft and soggy quickly....unless you fry the papad, which is an entirely new joy on its own! You can garnish each one with the scallion whites, if you have some.

Tips
  • This dish is usually made with white or yellow onion, but i prefer a milder onion flavor.
  • Papad, when being roasted on an open flame and still warm and pliable can be quickly formed into creative shapes like a shallow bowl, a cannoli (tube-like, rolled shape), or simply folded over once or twice like a pocket square.

6 comments:

  1. Your blog article was indeed very funny & reminiscent of my childhood days!I recall those carefree days playing outside in the sun oblivious to the 'dangers' that exist today.That was another BHARAT and not the INDIA of today that our land has evolved into!

    It was the very same sentiment expressed by Shri Mohan Bhagawat ( of RSS) when one 'famous & glamorous' woman journalist from our 'bought-over' TV/News Media pounced upon him and tore him to pieces and then later 'twittered' an apology.But once such harm is done it is difficult to undo!
    Wonder if you have heard this heart-tugging lilting song from the classic film सुजाता:
    बचपन के दिन भी क्या दिन थे
    उड़ते फिरते तितली बन के

    And just for the record -Nadhi-Parbat = River-Mountain= Jal-Sthal= Water-Land!
    And in the meanwhile ROCK ON & KEEP ROCKING!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for the correction!!

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  2. This, and some kitchdi and khadi and I'm good to go!

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    Replies
    1. Good call, Neeli!!! Now I feel like having kitchdi and khadi!

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  3. good article. like the humor a lot. where did you get the genes for the humor? talking about genes, i finally had the courage to throw away the pleated jeans. dad

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    Replies
    1. Dad, just the thought of those jeans make me want to cry. Not a good cry either. Thanks for always reading and supporting and acknowledging that my razor sharp wit did not come from any genetic thread. :)

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