May 24, 2010

Kala Chana
I spent my sophomore year of college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.  What a different place than Oregon!  Most of that time was spent with a roommate from India who spoke better English than I do.  I still miss you Archana!  

We also had a very good friend from Sri Lanka named Indi.  The weekend of President's Day, Archana and I visited Indi's home in Charlotte, NC.  Indi's mom cooked for us and while I had been eating Archana's Indian cooking, she did not eat her food as spicy as many Indians.  Indi's mom cooked spicy and I mean spicy!  It was the first time I had real Ceylon tea...her family would send her tea directly from Sri Lanka.  And, it was the first time I had kala chana or black chickpeas.  These little jewels are like the chickpeas or garbanzo beans we typically see except they are smaller and have a thick outer skin that's typically brown.  She made these with salmon.  I loved it!  Plus, the black chickpeas made it almost bearable to eat the salmon that was so spicy it burned my mouth. 

I loved them so much that Indi's mom sent the rest of what she had home with me.  Apparently, the rest of Indi's family wasn't too keen on the black chickpeas.  I wish Indi's mom had spoke better English...I think I could have learned lots about cooking yummy foods from her.

That was almost eleven years ago.  In February, I saw those yummy little black chickpeas in a little Indian store at Pike's Place.  I had to buy a bag.  Tonight, I finally got around to cooking them. 

Why is it that we forget how good simple food can be?  I made salmon...although in no way near as spicy as Indi's mom and the black chickpeas.  What a wonderful memory and a wonderful taste.  While, I haven't done a good job of keeping in contact with my friends...haven't spoke to Indi since I came home from NC, tonight's dinner took me right back to that great weekend and my wonderful friends.  What meal takes you back to a fond memory?

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