Leaving for work the other morning, long before the crack of dawn, I was slightly impressed with myself. Noticing the bright moon at the horizon line, nearly full and glowing, the thought popped into my head that Holi time is upon us again, recalling that it falls at the first full moon in early March. I think I am finally getting the hang of our relatively new Indian holidays and can proclaim that we have celebrated them long enough to now consider them tradition.
Because I associate Holi time with a change in climate, it is a long awaited celebration in the rainy and wet part of the country we are from, and never comes too soon. About this time, the whole family gets a bit cantankerous, pent up, solemn and eager to cast off our heavy clothing at the first signs of the coming of spring. We all suffer from an internal struggle, unable to spend more than a few minutes outside due to the cold and wind, but equally drawn to the out of doors every time we spot a break in the rain. This week, in fact, we awoke to two inches of snow on Monday, a major contrast to the exceptionally balmy 60 degree day predicted by the week’s end.
In the kitchen, we attempted a couple of new dishes, adding to our repertoire of Indian delights. I invited our friend Kris over to experience Holi and upon entering the house, slyly assigned her a spatula, recipe, pre-measured ingredients and Devi for cooking duties. Together, they made the Mattar Paneer that was fab-u-lous. It is Devi’s favorite, not necessarily for taste, but because I think she loves to watch the curdling of the milk when I make the paneer. Treya and I made a new dish called Taheri. It is a Northern Indian, rice, cauliflower and potato dish, and with our rainy and cold day of celebration, provided that slightly heavy comfort food that sticks to one’s ribs and keeps you warm inside. I also tried a new recipe for Tandori shrimp that was grilled to perfection by Pat. Delicious? Yes, but maybe requires at least one more green chili for a bit of extra kick next time. In addition, Devi asked for mango lassis, cucumber pickle and garlic naan and Trey asked for samosa with cilantro chutney. Pat stepped out right after dinner and brought home Gulab Jamin for dessert from the local Indian restaurant, which is like heaven to a girl with a sweet tooth like mine! With full bellies and the aromas of India permeating our clothing and hair we lounged, wallowing in the contentment of our gluttony.
Because I've had so many request photos of the Indian fare we prepare.
Long before children entered our lives, and for reasons that I can no longer remember, we started yelling “Forsythia” whenever we would spot one. Around here everything is gray or shades of gray until March when these bright yellow bushes begin to blossom - the first sign of spring color. Now, with two kids, the game is gotten even more fun; however, patience during the hunt is not always there. Occasionally, after long moments of quiet driving, Devi will yell “Forsythia....I cheated”, having not really spotted one. Because Devi is Treya’s puppet master, you can pretty much guarantee, if Devi says something, so will Trey. Funny thing is, Treya now thinks the game is “Isia-cheat” and belly laughs heartily everytime she says it. No matter, I suppose, cheating or not, the whole family is filled with the spirit of Holi, welcoming a change of season; welcoming SPRING! Isia-cheat!