Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A vacation and a giveaway

You know the feeling you get right before a vacation begins. The hectic bustle of last-minute things to wrap up at work, the constant rearranging of items into suitcases, as if rearranging the same mass can somehow magically reduce its weight, the double and triple-checking of documents and itineraries. Somewhere in the middle of all this, it suddenly sinks in --- you’re heading on vacation! This is what just happened to me this morning, as I woke up in a panic at not being fully packed for my upcoming sojourn. And in my case, the glee, when it hit me, was amplified because it’s not just a vacation that I’m headed on, but the best kind of vacation – I'm going home! Home -- to balmy evenings and sultry days (we'll see if I'm still romaticizing this aspect once the tropical heat hits me); home-cooked food and a respite from the daily routine; family time and pampering (I hope) in abundance; and the kind of sights, sounds, and smells that never fail to send me into sensory overload.

So why am I ranting and raving about a vacation ? What’s in it for me, you ask? Well, two things, really. Firstly, home, for me, happens to be one of the richest and most diverse places in the world, in terms of culinary delights. And not having been back home in over two years, I have every intention of indulging in these said delicacies and sharing with you a few teasers of mouthwatering recipes that I shall attempt to botch in my own kitchen once I’m back. Secondly, since I’m in such a good mood, I’ve decided to share some of my bounty with you, readers. When I return from my holiday in a few weeks, I’ll be giving away three sets of Indian cooking spices, fresh from the Motherland. One of them will contain spices commonly used in the making of traditional Indian chai or spiced tea. Another one will be a set of spices used in the making of North Indian curries, such as this Paneer Jalfrezi. And the last one will be a set of spices used traditionally in South Indian foods, such as this Bread Upma. So what do you have to do in order to win one of these packets? It’s simple -- just leave me a comment on any one of my posts, including your impressions on the post and an email address so that I can contact you, should you win. You will be entered into the drawing once for every comment you leave me between now and my return at the end of March, so your ways to spice Nirvana are really limitless.

With that dear Reader, I leave you with a glimpse into the kinds of goodies that I hope await me on my vacation to India. I hope you enjoy these pictures of Bhatura, a type Indian fried puffed bread, served alongside spiced mashed potatoes, cooked with tomatoes and lots of Indian spices. Since my vacation laziness has already set in (and as I mentioned, I'm not done packing yet), I will have to defer writing up the recipe until after I return. In the meantime, be good, and happy eating!

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