Our small group from Summit has been talking about having an “Indian Food Night” for months. It seems like every single time that we get together, someone mentions some really good Indian restaurant in the Triangle. Seriously, ya’ll, they seem to just spring up overnight around here! Ben and I have yet to try all the restaurants here in Durham that we want to, let alone the ones in Chapel Hill and Raleigh! When my mom comes to visit, she always swears that you could eat out every single night around here at a different restaurant, and be good to go for a year!
Despite all the excellent international cuisine options in the area (among some of my favorites are the Mediterranean Deli in Chapel Hill, Gregoria’s Steakhouse in Durham, and Shiki Sushi in Durham), we decided to take the plunge and create our own Indian food, potluck style!
It was a warm Spring night here, and we all trekked over to Jonathan and Tawny’s to feed our growling bellies with the most incredible chicken tikka masala, Indian-spiced rice, spiced eggplant and veggie stew, mulligatawny stew, and chickpea-lentil salad with curried cauliflower. And let’s not forget the naan, of course! Just as sushi lives and dies by the rice, Indian food lives and dies by the naan!
Oh. my. goodness. Everything was so delicious. I can’t even begin to describe the smells that were tantalizing me even as I climbed the stairs to enter Jonathan and Tawny’s second-story apartment. We devoured a sampling (okay, probably a bit more than just a sampling… we may have gone back for seconds. and thirds…) of every dish on the table, exclaiming over and over again at how wonderful everything was. Despite many of the dishes using the same spices, each one had a unique flavor of its own. The most flavorful, though, was the rice and eggplant stew that Robin brought, which we all agreed was because Blake had brought back the spices freshly from India on his recent school trip to Dubai! Boy, was that a treat!
And so, my friends, I present to you the first of hopefully many International food nights: “The Breaking of the Naan”! Enjoy!
**I hope to get recipes for all, if not some, of these dishes, so hold on tight until then! (The chickpea-lentil salad recipe, which was my contribution, will be posted shortly!)
Robin’s Indian-spiced rice. I made the mistake of specifically ladling out an entire cardamom seed (did I mention these were fresh spices, straight from India?), thinking it was a raisin. As much as I love spices, this was probably not the best choice. I think my breath still smells like cardamom this morning! Oops. 🙂
Maggie and Donovan brought a delicious Mulligatawny Stew (yes, there were many jokes made about Tawny in the process of eating this). It had a really unique sweetness that made it extra tasty to enjoy as a “dessert” course!
Last but (hopefully) not least, my chickpea-lentil salad with curried cauliflower and cumin-lemon vinaigrette. I’m glad I decided to make this instead of the dal I originally had planned; we had a plethora of stew-like dishes (all of which were amazing, I must add). Recipe coming soon!
I was so blessed to have this precious time of community with some of my favorite people. Ben, Michael, and Erika, we missed you! Let’s break some naan together soon! (Or maybe some challah? Or injera? Or focaccia?) 😉