Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Try It: Aloo Matar

My daughter's vocabulary is growing at an astounding rate.  She's always been a very social baby, but language makes that even more evident; where I remember my son first communicating in nouns, my daughter has begun her study of language in verbs, and mostly in the imperative.

The most amusing of these, I think, is "tryit."  Usually phrased with the intonation of a question, and a gesture indicating that you (in most cases, I) really ought to try whatever it is she's doing, or eating, or reading, or ... you get the idea.  I've been thinking about why this might be, and I guess it's partly because we're constantly asking her to try things: new foods, clothing, walking, experiences.  So it stands to reason that she would ask us to do the same.

Sometimes she's just offering me things that I've given to her.  A piece of avocado.  A chick pea.  A doll.  A particular book.

Sometimes it's more imaginative.  The top half of a plastic egg, in which there is a hole that she's managed to turn into a whistle by sucking her cheeks in over the rounded tip.  A soft Tigger-shaped pillow onto which she flops her head grandly, bending her small body in half.  "Tryit," she says, encouraging.  Demonstrating.  Like this.  (flop.)

 And honestly, there hasn't been a single time when I've regretted "trying it."  (Oh, that Tigger pillow is so soft, and so comfortable, and who knew -- what a wonderful thing to lay your head down just for a moment!)

I love the fact that my daughter has opinions of her own.  Though there are times that makes life more difficult (during dinner, for example, when her mouth clamps shut if she doesn't like what's on offer), it will certainly serve her well in the future, when people are trying to get her to do what they want her to.  But I also hope that she retains some of this delight in the universe, and excitement at sharing her discoveries with me, and with anyone else who might be willing to "tryit" too.

Aloo Mattar
(because you really ought to try it.)


1 large tomato, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2-inch fresh ginger, peeled
1-inch piece cinnamon
2 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
3 T. canola oil
1 t. cumin seeds
1/2 medium onion, cut into thin slices
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 t. turmeric
1 1/2 t. garam masala3 c. frozen peas
2 T. cream (I omitted this)
fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a blender, combine the tomato, garlic, and ginger. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Add the cinnamon, clove, and cardamom to a large pan set over medium heat. Dry roast, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about one minute.  Pour in the canola oil, and add in the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the onions. Stir well until the onions are evenly coated with the fragrant oil. Turn the heat to medium-high, and cook until the onions are just starting to brown, two to four minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the cubed potatoes, and cook, stirring often, for three minutes. Pour in the contents of the blender, and stir to combine.  Add the salt, turmeric, and 1/4 cup of water. Stir well, and then reduce heat to medium. Cook at a steady simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are starting to become tender, and the oil starts to separate from the sauce, about 12 minutes. You may need to turn the heat down to keep it from boiling.

Add two more cups of water and the peas. Simmer about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream (optional) and garam masala, and simmer gently for an additional two minutes. Season to taste with more salt, if necessary. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
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5 comments:

a field of dreams said...

My son at just over 2y.o also has a very comprehensive vocabulary in both English and Greek. At the moment when he is particularly lazy he will say "mum do it". The recipe looks lovely.

gwinne said...

yum

Lisa said...

This looks great. I would love to tryit!

Adele said...

That's so sweet. She sounds like she has a very inquiring mind. And an engaged one, too. I love the idea of trying out the Tigger pillow. Though, it's a wonderful you didn't fall fast asleepzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:)

Emily said...

I just love her!

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