Friday, February 26, 2010

Kind of a Crazy Week

That's our well in the background. Dry. Hence, the water truck.

Did you notice the name of the water supply company? $100 if you pronounce it right the first time.

And 30 minutes later, we can shower again.

I just finished packing. Ani and I are heading up to Delhi tomorrow morning. I think the correct name is New Delhi, but I have never heard anyone here use the “New” part. I think it was added when India became independent from the mother ship of Britain. They probably got tired of renaming everything and just stuck New on the front of it and called it a day. That’s what I would have done. Not that anyone asked for my opinion. I don’t even think my dad was born when independence happened, so I guess I can forgive India for not asking me. I actually do not think anything I just said was accurate at all. And I can’t check any of my facts because our internet is down. But I will leave it in print and you all can weigh in on all my inaccuracies. I am used to being corrected.

Anyway, getting back to my original intent of talking about Delhi, we are going up for a wedding. One of Freedom Firm’s social workers is getting married and Ani is her flower girl. Cute. I have no idea what to expect from the wedding. It’s not a “traditional” Indian wedding. Alum and her fiance are from Monipour (again, I cannot check the spelling, b’c I do not have internet, I am sure that is a total misspelling), Monipour is in the little part of India that juts out past Bangladesh. People from Monipour have a look all their own. Much more Asian features. They are also very western. Alum told me that a 100+ years ago a missionary from the States brought Christianity to their state and I am pretty sure that it is in the only state in India that would consider itself Christian. Anyway, I know you are all wondering what I will be wearing. I know I was yesterday, when I called Alum and asked her what I am supposed to wear. And she said, “my best.” Little does she know that “my best” is a pair of jeans without stains and shirt that I got from Jayson’s mom for Christmas that I haven’t worn yet, because I never dress up. When people say “your best” there are no absolutes, it’s on a sliding scale. I know I will be underdressed, it’s my life calling to be the most underdressed person at every event. There is a lot of adventure to be found this weekend. I hear Delhi is crazy. Ani and I are ready to paint the city red. The people of Delhi won’t know what hit them.

What’s been happening around here, you ask? Well, I think we are fairly healthy after two weeks of lame stomachs - also called Delhi belly or Ooty booty. I liken the belly ick to the Minnesota common cold in the winter. Except smellier. To bad you can’t have a cold and the belly ick at the same time so you wouldn’t have to smell the issues at hand. I will see what I can do about that.

Ooh, Ooh, big news around here. We only have one dog. Not so much FOUR anymore. On Saturday the dogs went to a tea estate in Coonoor to take on guard dog duties. Hip, hip hurray! And - well actually, this one happened about a month ago - the cook that came with house, Shankar, found other employment. He does come one day a week still. He has been working at our home for so long that it was hard for him to leave completely, so we asked him if he could work just one day a week for us. It’s a win all the way around.

It was kind of a crazy week with the Aftercare girls. It’s hard to know what to say about it all. Let’s just say that crisis and set-backs are inevitable when working with any sort of trauma victims. FF has an incredible staff, ready to lay down their lives for these girls. And I am so grateful and humbled by their efforts with these girls.

Okay, I am going to sign off soon. But I did want to leave you with a long recipe for Mushroom Biryani. There were a few of you out there that have requested a Biryani recipe. Mushroom Biryani is my absolute favorite. So, when Shankar came to cook on Wednesday, I documented his mad chef skills for you all. I dare you all to try it. Your taste buds will thank you.

Step One:
Prepare all vegetables.
Dice: one bunch coriander (cilantro)
3 medium sized red onions
3 medium sized tomatoes

Step Two:
Heat an obscene amount of oil - probably an inch in the bottom of pan
Saute onions until nice and carmel brown
When onions are done, put a palm size amount of cinnamon stick, biryani leaves, cardamom. anise stars and 3 whole green chilis. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Step Three:
Make Garlic/Ginger paste (take 1/2 cup whole garlic, 1/4 cup whole, pealed ginger, with a bit of water and pulse it in the blender until paste like).
Add garlic/ginger paste. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Step Four:
Add 16 oz. of whole button mushrooms and 1 1/2 cup water and 2 t. salt

Step Five:
Add 2 cups of uncooked rice, 1 bunch of coriander and tomatoes.

Step Six:
Add banana leaf leaves to the top of the Biryani. They call it dum. I have no idea if I am saying this right, let alone spelling it... Anyway, I have no clue on what this really does to the Biryani, all I know it that they put these huge leaves on top. Maybe you could put a piece of wax paper instead. The banana trees in the States are a bit sparse.

Step Seven:
Let this sit for about 30 - 45 minutes on low heat.

Final step, Enjoy!

Shankar showed me how to make this fantastic meal. In this photo he's working on "curd", which generally goes on top of the Biryani, but isn't necessary. Sorry I don't have that part of the recipe.

Writing a recipe is much harder than I would ever have imagined. Holy buckets. I hope the pictures help. You can ask questions, but I can pretty much guarantee that I will not know the answer. The only thing I am a bit confused on is the amount of water to add. There are two cups of rice, that would usually need to be cooked in 4 cups of water. But the only time I saw him add water was with the mushrooms. Hmm.... I have no idea. And again, I do not have internet to check out some other recipes.

We were reading bedtime stories the other night and Ani jumped up and said, "Spider! Big spider!" Tarrah immediately hid behind her hoodie (sweatshirt) and I looked over and saw it... a huge spider? See it in this picture?

How about now... see it yet?

There it is. Ani was right, really big.


Tom said...

Hi Jason and Tarrah,

When I was in Delhi with Travis Carr, we stayed with with Michael and Sarah Jackson (yes, Michael Jackson). Anyway, Sarah is a part of the Mizo people group (asian) from the border of Myanmar. She too said that part of the country has a high percentage of believers. Anyway, it's a small world and if you happen to run into them (hard not to notice a white guy and an asian/indian woman)say hi to them. You'd like them!

Kara said...

ok - I screamed at the spider. That was big.
That food looks absolutely amazing. Thanks for the recipe - we'll give it a go :) Miss your cooking

dawnette said...

Oh honey, you KNOW how I feel about spider stories... and you know MY spider story... eeeaaaauuuuugh! (i'm not sure how to spell that noise that just came out of my mouth, but you can feeeeeel me shiver, can't you? from 1000's of miles away? yes???)

As an aside: I wrote you a letter... maybe right after the first of the year?... did it EVER make it to your mailbox? Obviously I knew what that letter was up against, but I sent it none the less... my thought being: if this sucker arrives, Tarrah will be all the more excited that it even made it, let alone that she got a letter. :) So I thought I'd ask!

love ya, girl!!!

Lois said...

oh my word, that spider was grose. Who killed it? and how? You certainly are having the experiences over there.

Don't think I'll make your recipe tonight. It's a little late. :>)

The Lord bless you and protect you. Our love and prayers. Lois for Paul too

Sarah said...

yes, the spider. wow! you should do a cooking class this summer when you come back. instead of those boring missionary slide shows (actually those were so about 35 years ago, but don't you remember them?)
jovie looks sooo grown up sitting in a big girl chair with a spoon, and without a bib. oh my, nathan would have all that on the floor in no time. she is so mature! love and miss the palms!

mel said...

i laughed out loud, once again, as i read your account of the week. you have an incredible ability to capture moments and their accompanying emotions with words...
and, if i can just mention that i would have lost it having seen that spider! well done to just pull the hood and let the moment pass. your ability to remain calm in such a scene is one of the qualities i just adore in you, t!

Jennifer Swanson said...

We just tried the Biryani recipe - and aside from not having had the "real thing" before, it turned out well. Unfortunately, CUB did not carry either biryani leaves or banana leaves, so I had to improvise on those. Otherwise, I think it was good - at least the kids ate it... Thanks for finally sharing the recipe. We will wait eagerly for more. :)