If it wasn’t for our old neighbors, who introduced us to the wonderful world of Indian food and fostered our love for it, I wouldn’t be feeling it. With a brand new cuisine, you really need someone to take you by the hand, show you their favorite foods and allow you to gently wade into the water, lest you get scared off by a big wave of something you just don’t like. I find that if you ask someone if they like Indian food, if they’re not already familiar with it, you usually get a response of “I don’t like curry.” Indian food is not just curry. That’s akin to saying Italian food is all about marinara, ignoring deliciously salty Prosciutto, creamy homemade mozzarella and freshly made cannolis, you know?
Earlier this week, I went down and visited with our old neighbors for a little bit, and we got to talking about food because I asked if they had a good recipe for Aloo Jeera. They didn’t, and when I mentioned that there are so many different recipes out there for it (like the version I made versus the restaurant’s version), he explained that different regions have different recipes for it. Much like asking ten Italians for their homemade gravy (sauce) recipe … they’re all going to be different. Bert mentioned a new, quick wrap he’s been throwing together recently, eating it for a snack or a light lunch, and as he described it, my mouth was watering. The power of suggestion and all that, after I left, I made a quick detour for a nearby Indian grocery store to pick up a few ingredients.
Since Nicholas was off for an evening with my parents, I took advantage of the kid-free dinner table and made the wraps. OMG, so good. I can’t put my finger on what made it exactly OMG good for me … the simplicity, the forgiveness, the flexibility, the healthiness … I don’t know, but it was incredibly satisfying and will be a frequent go-to from now on. I took a few liberties with the wrap along the way and as I mentioned forgiveness and flexibility, this is certainly one you can tweak to your own liking, adding and subtracting at will. Bert’s version didn’t have an onion in it, and he mentioned putting it in a tortilla. When I was at the grocery store and passed by the rotis, I wondered if that’s what he meant instead. No matter. I bought. I used. And oh so good.
Indian Cucumber Wraps
Recipe courtesy of Bert and Cate
1 Kirby cucumber, diced in small pieces
1 onion, peeled and sliced thin
chick pea flour (Besan)
To taste: salt, pepper, sugar, Garam Masala
In a medium sauce pan, heat up a little bit of olive oil and add the cucumber and onion. Saute until they soften and add approximately a teaspoon of Besan, stir. Season with pinches of salt, pepper, sugar and Garam Masala to taste. Saute for another minute or two to give flavors a chance to marry. (As you can see from the picture, I let the onions get to the caramelized stage) In the meantime, put one Roti on paper towel in microwave for 15 seconds just to warm up and soften. When done, fill Roti with cucumber and onion mixture, roll up and devour.
I dipped in a mixture of part sour cream, part chutney, but it is just as good on its own.
Yield: 1 wrap