Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 239

Since the pandemic started, we’ve been doing a lot more cooking at home and trying a lot of new recipes. Some of our favorites are Indian-inspired, but we’ve been limited to the spices and veggies we can find in our mainstream supermarkets.

In particular, we haven’t been able to add curry leaves to Slow Cooker Spiced Lentils with Veggies or amchur to Garlic-Ginger Chicken Breasts with Cilantro and Mint because we couldn’t find them. It’s not as if there aren’t any Indian markets near us – it’s just that I’ve never gotten around to visiting until today, when I was going to make the lentils again.

My first attempt was Desi International Market, near our chiropractor. It’s really mostly a liquor store – and when we got there this morning, it was padlocked.

We had much more success at our second choice, India Cash and Carry in Cupertino. Diane found the amchur right away – it came in 100-gram boxes, which seemed like a lot, considering we’ll use it one teaspoon at a time. I couldn’t find the curry leaves, so I asked someone I hoped was an employee for help – he was packing little baggies with leaves from a box. He handed me one of the baggies and said “this is curry leaf”.

Neither item had a price on it, so I got in line at the cash register with a little trepidation; the amchur was $1.50 and the curry leaves were $0.99. And they gave me a free copy of the Bhagavad-Gita in honor of Diwali!

The curry leaves definitely changed the flavor of the lentil dish tonight – probably the teaspoon of Garam Masala I threw in made a difference, too.

Cooking can be fun!