I’ve had a trip to India in the works for the past four years, but something always comes up that derails it. To tell the truth, I’m sure that the few weeks I have set aside to visit won’t be enough to see and eat everything I’d like to. I think I’d need another lifetime or two to even become reasonably familiar with the grand country. And so I am drawn to three resources each Indian person I meet has to share: their personal stories, which dishes feel like “home” to them, and where they go for the best Indian food in whatever town we’re both in at the time.
The stories told by Chitra Agrawal — founder of Indian condiments line, Brooklyn Delhi — on her blog The ABCD’s of Cooking are perfect examples of the intersection of those three resources. Chitra has put her stories and recipes into a cookbook named Vibrant India, and this week’s recipes for Potato Stir-Fry with Onion and Ginger and the accompanying Cilantro Coconut Chutney are from her book. You will definitely need to stop by a grocery selling Indian groceries to stock your pantry with a few of the items if you don’t regularly prepare Indian dishes, but once you have them, I’m sure you’ll keep coming back to these wonderful flavors. —Kristina
Why Chitra loves this recipe: I like the contrast between the refreshing and crisp lettuce leaf and the buttery and soft potato curry — the coconut chutney brings it all together. I first made this recipe for a dinner I hosted at Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village. I came up with the idea to take advantage of the abundance of butter lettuce at the farmer?s market at the time. For that dinner I added sweet potatoes to the usually savory potato curry served with a dosa and topped it with a cilantro coconut chutney. It was a huge hit, and from then on I started to serve it as an appetizer when I catered events.