Indian Simmer: You Can Live on Bread Alone
As some of you already know, your humble ES editor has temporarily relocated, and I’ll be spending the next month eating and drinking my way through India. Hope you’re all fans of the food there, because I’ll be checking in frequently to report on my fav finds, brag about eating for $3 a day, and hopefully never complaining about Delhi belly.
First thoughts: OMFG this place is scary. Why do they think it’s OK to drive the wrong way on the highway? Or shove 13 people into one rickshaw? Or bring your baby on a motorcycle without a helmet? Somehow, this crazy “system” all seems to work out for them, but I have to admit it’s pretty freaking overwhelming.
Second thoughts: OMFG this place is a bread-lover’s paradise. If you have ever eaten at an Indian-American restaurant that offers just one simple kind of naan, let me tell you, you are being shortchanged. Every establishment here, big or small, has countless kinds of bread on offer. Garlic naan, butter naan, naan laced in layers of ghee and nann stuffed with potato curry. Paper-thin dosas rolled out to five-feet wide. Crunchy dosas smashed up and mixed in with every ingredient in the kitchen. Crispy papadum ready for dipping. I could go on. And on.
But my favorite (so far) is the batura. It’s a giant, puffy bread usually served with channa (spicy chickpea curry), as in the channa batura above at Kwality Restaurant in Delhi. It’s hollow inside, super-thin, and slightly greasy. It’s served hot and you break a piece off to pop it all open. Then you just go at it Ethiopian-style, tearing off pieces of the bread and using them to scoop up the chickpeas. So fun. They usually only offer batura with channa, but I think I may ask for every meal in India to be served this way.