December 9, 2009 –Chickpeas in No Time!- and Neighbors and Friends
Well, I woke up to a very cold dreary morning and was wondering how I would manage my massage today without sun in the sun room. I dressed up warm, although, among many other thins (I am less afraid of buzzing bees near me and stray dogs), I am no longer hung up on the issue of carrying around tons of extra clothing in case I am cold. Have actually found that being a little less snug and warm can be nice as the feel of the cool air through my clothes is actually quite pleasant. So I am able to wear less in the very cold morning hours, meaning I have less to shlep around during the rest of the day when it warms up.
So, I went down this morning and had my nice wheat porridge, and while I was eating, the sun began to shine through the cloud layer, at least enough to warm up a sun room through the glass windows. I had a lovely warm
warm massage, and then my sirrodhara (warm oil drip on the forhead) which I am not really crazy about. I have to lay still for too long!
I could do meditation or Reiki or whatever but find myself, after the first 20 minutes or so, feeling very unsettled…this is something I am still working on and it is good practice in patience for me.
After a good hot shower to get the oil out of my hair, I did my internet stuff and then met Reingard for lunch, where I again had my lovely steamed veggies with 2 chappatis and ghee.
I was feeling a little tired but didn’t want to head straight home so went down to Lakshman Jhula and did almost all the rest of my shopping for other people. Now I only have basically myself left to worry about.
On the way back, I was thinking to myself “how in the world will I make it up the hills at this hour with everything I have to carry”….and, just as the thought crossed my mind, the answer was sent…Udai, the manager of my guesthouse called my name from behind. He was on his motorbike on the way up to swiss cottage and saw me…I of course was overjoyed to see him, and in 5 minutes I was up in my room.
And then I began a cooking experiment:
I was told I could eat cooked chickpeas with cumin seeds, ajwain (called in English carom or bishop’s weed), hing and tumeric, using ghee as the cooking medium.
So last nite I put some up to soak overnite, and today, I put them in the pressure cooker with salted water and in less than 10 minutes (3 whistles), to my amazement, they were ready to eat. I then just sautéed the spices (except the tumeric) in ghee in a frying pan, added the chickpeas for a minute or two, added tumeric, salt and a little pepper. In 15 minutes I had made myself an amazingly delicious and permitted snack food.
Chickpeas are one of my favorite foods but I never make them as they take so long to cook and I don’t like using the canned ones. I also felt they were too gassy and so kept away from them. But according to Manju, Dr. arora’s wife and a naturopath doctor as well, if they are cooked properly with the right combo of spices, they are fine to eat. She also suggested mashing some of them (after panchakarma) and mixing them with sautéed onion, garlic and ginger – sounds almost like hoummous – and then mixing it with rice for a nice meal, or just eating it with chapatti. (hoummous and pita Indian style). I always thought hoummous, which I LOVE, was not good for my stomach, but the doctor explained that I shouldn’t eat too much because they are good for LOOSING weight and I need to keep weight on. All sounds strange and so different to what I have believed all these years, but he’s been right about other stuff in the past, so I will go back to eating my favorite food and see what happens!
I had bought some beautiful Tibetan turquoise and silver jewelry for my daughters and so went down to my neighbor seema to ask her opinion and also bring her some chickpeas to taste. She loved the chickpeas and asked how I made them and when she tasted the ghee, asked where I by my ghee and how much I costs. And then said she not only makes her own ghee, and would be happy to sell to me (and I am only too happy to give the money to her), but she also makes the BUTTER herself which she makes into ghee. She buys fresh buffalo milk from the village, boils it up, takes off the fat which rises to the top, and churns that into butter using a blender…and then she boils THAT up and makes ghee from part of it. But the butter she saves for eating on bread or chappati, and the ghee for cooking only. I will never find such wonderful ghee once I get home…so will enjoy it while here.
She loved the necklaces also by the way. Seema, I’ve come to realize, is not only a wonderful neighbor and friend, she is my only neighbor not only here in India, but in the whole world. I don’t have any neighbor in Israel who I can just drop in to for a visit and chat for awhile…and we always enjoy the time we spend together…I really miss her when I am not here. And when I told her this, she said that I am also her ONLY neighbor…none of the other women around here are friends with her as they are all competitors in neighboring guesthouses…so also looks forward to my being here so she has a next door neighbor for part of each year.
I also realized that I have pretty much not really met any new people this entire trip so far. I have been either been alone, or hanging around with people I already know, and expect to see more friends in the coming weeks. I usually meet LOTS of people, but I’ve been so busy either traveling or doing panchakarma, and very very rarely sit downstairs in the restaurant to eat or drink, that there has been pretty much no opportunities to meet new people as I usually do. Or perhaps I just have so many friends already, that there is no need to go out and meet new people. Whatever the reason is, it seems strange to be here without making lots of new acquaintances. I did meet a couple the first couple of weeks, but since then, none. Interesting.