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livin’ la vida local

There I said it. That song’s been stuck in my head and I don’t even like Ricky Martin. Sorry. Nope. Nyet. Not one bit. But I do like living in Lane Cove. It’s central, it’s safe, it’s perfect for families with young children and hopefully in the next few months were going to see new life injected into this suburb.

There’s been plenty of criticism about the new developments but I say bring it on. Urban sprawl is creeping up on all of us so we may as well stop fighting it and embrace it instead. And with that in mind we figured why go to Surry Hills or Whoop Whoop for a good Indian meal before even giving Indian Fusion a chance.  

 

Yes we know there are already a few Indian restaurants in the Cove. But bear with us as we prattle on about our meal last Tuesday night. A motley bunch of us congregated at Indian Fusion. 

  

    
 

Four Indians, one from each corner of the Motherland, plus one from Ireland (you know how I love the Irish – especially those that cook rogan gosh meaner than any I’ve ever had) and one beautiful woman originally from Sierra Leone then London now Sydney, sat down with a bottle of wine and decided the menu was way too extensive to choose from. 

  

So we let a very traditional waiter in shorts and a tee decide for us. Okay okay Robert was off duty – we found out he is actually the general manager – and decided this would be a very long night if he let us loose on the menu! He decided what we should eat and boy were we impressed!!

I’d like to say straight off the bat that every single starter was superb. Malai tikka, oh you gorgeous thing how I do love you!! And fusion chaat and tandoori chicken I would marry you if I wasn’t already spoken for. Ouch, my vegetarian friend is poking me hard in the ribs and insisting I mention the galoutti kebabs too. And the onion rings and the paneer. Oh the paneer. Marry me now!!! 
  

  

But the serious SERIOUS highlight for me had to be the lamb chops. You have not lived till you sink your teeth into those oogley boogley delicate little morsels that fall off the bone and into your mouth. Even my ‘trying to be vegetarian’ friend succumbed – and and one point we were pretty sure she’d lick her plate clean.  

  

As I looked around the table the other thing that struck me was how beautifully diverse have become. How small the world now is. How sweetly we live next door to each other in harmony. How there is no common language greater than the language of love and friendship and food and laughter. There are a lot more things I’d like to look at, but I was getting quite full by now and could barely roll my eyeballs so had to focus on the mains that were about to arrive…

Naaaaaaan!! Naan. Garlic naan. Butter naan. And the absolutely most stupendous chilli coriander naan!! Woot!! Robert you have outdone yourself. Harpreet Singh with your gorgeous pink turban you have six women hanging off your every word as you put our mains down at the table.

  

The paneer, the chicken, both were good. But the Yakhni, this delicious slow cooked lamb…oom nom nom nom. I also have to make a special mention of the channa upon which the pattie was served.  The problem is I don’t want to give too much away. YOU. JUST. HAVE. TO. GO. THERE. AND. EAT. IT. ALL.!!!!!

   
 

As we came to the end of our meal we were so full we can barely swallow our spit. But there is a God and I know this because he gave women separate dessert stomachs. Don’t ask me how we managed to stuff our faces with kulfi and gaajar halwa and ras malai. But we did.

So with a bellyful of curry and a heart full of grace I thank this gorgeous suburb I live in. And I’m so grateful that good solid authentic Indian flavours are only a stumble up the laneway. We’ll be back! Dee x

 

EDIT: Stop press! This note has just come through from one of the girls that was in our group on Tuesday night.

She says, “We just back from the restaurant. We couldn’t stay away and will be very frequent customers. We couldn’t eat everything – tried our hardest but we just couldn’t fit it all in. Went 100% veggie this time. Had a veggie starter platter and shared a main with rice. Bought our own wine. Total was $71 – such fantastic value. Service was not as prompt and we waited some time to order, they were much much busier though.”

Wow. Twice in the same week must be a good thing no?

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get your jeera on

I was chatting with an old and dear friend and he made me so nostalgic for the foods and smells we grew up with that I had trouble falling asleep last night. He spoke of how he wanted to eat bhel puri and pani puri. Masala dosa and pav bhaaji. And biryani and tandoori and just heaps of other food of our yesteryears…

So today when we got invited to dinner and I was asked to bring daal and rice I simply had to get my jeera on! But first to get in to the mood my little boy showed me how to meditate (levitate?!).

  

Then we went to the markets and bought gorgeous sun ripened tomatoes. When we came home we turned on old Kishore Kumar / Lata Mangeshkar songs on the radio. Aha, do you see my head wobbles getting more pronounced?
  

And because I cook from recipes and follow them to a tee (not) I chopped up about 8 cloves of garlic, 2 onions, Parsi dhanajeera powder and sambhar powder in oogles of ghee. Two of those roughly chopped tomatoes I added did not die in vain either. They were the shining stars of the entire dish. 

Once the house (and my clothes) started smelling like an Indian restaurant and I opened up all the doors and windows… and thanked God I didn’t have carpets at home… I added a cup and a half of ‘mixed lentils’ and water, salt, sugar and tamarind paste to the cooker. Yes yes it was meant to be a Gujarati style khatta meetha yellow daal but I ran out of daal ok. Don’t judge me. You too can use what’s in the cupboard, the results might shock you!!

While this happy mixture wheezed and whistled away in the pressure cooker and my boys ran out yelling Mum the house is going to explode!! I started on the rice.

Not just any ordinary rice. Heaven forbid we eat ordinary rice today. It was the best long grain basmati I could get my hands on, tempered with jeera (cumin) and garlic in ghee. 

  
And then it all came together in one glorious, mouth watering meal. Do not tell the host that tonight’s meal is being sampled for lunch as we speak.

  
If, like my friend said, I garnish with coriander and a smile, they won’t know the difference will they?

  

  
I’m in heaven right now. And this ENTIRE DISH is vegetarian… Dee x