Sunday, August 29, 2010

Across India in 80 Minutes

As promised, I'm going to share my yummy finds from this weekend's annual India Fest at the Agricenter. In a little over an hour (probably not exactly 80 minutes, but I thought it was a cute title), I sampled snacks from about five Indian states. Many of the booths at India Fest are organized by state, and from what the event organizers told me, each Indian state has a very distinct culture and specific regional foods.

Disclaimer: I didn't inquire as to the vegan-ness of most of these foods. I know much Indian food contains ghee (clarified butter) and I typically ask at restaurants, but the environment at India Fest was a little hectic. I'm not super-worried about accidentally eating some ghee, but I did stay away from foods that I know are usually prepared with ghee, like naan.

Here I am, ready for my culinary tour of India. Check out my bindhi — they gave these to all the girls as we entered the door:

And I was joined by fellow vegans Stephanie, Richard, and their new baby Peter (he's all wrapped up in the baby sling, so Steph would have her hands free to stuff her face):

My first stop was the booth for the state of Karnataka, where I sampled Ambode with Peanut Sauce. These reminded me of falafels, and the sauce was fantastic:

After eating the amode balls, I made a b-line for the Maharashtra booth. They had a number of yummy-sounding treats, but I'd heard great things about their Vada Pav. Vada Pav are balls of mashed garlic potatoes, deep-fried and served on a tiny bun with cilantro sauce and tamarind sauce. This may have been my favorite thing I ate:

Next I stopped at a snack tent, selling water, sodas, and these crunchy Murka sticks. There wasn't a sign for what state these came from. They're crispy, spicy noodles made from rice flour:

At the same booth, I also bought a Ladoo ball — a sweet deep-fried ball made from lentils, sugar, and nuts. It reminded me of a cross between a cake donut and a funnel cake:

Richard was craving his favorite Indian treat — Samosas. And we found some exceptionally-yummy ones at a booth for Swagruha Foods (a local Indian market). In case you don't know, samosas are deep-fried mashed potatoes and peas. At the same booth, I spotted some deep-fried chili peppers called Mirchi Bhaji. Both were super yummy dipped in sweet tamarind sauce:

By this point, I was pretty full, but I realized that I'd only eaten deep-fried snacks. I wanted something of substance to keep me satisfied for hours. So I opted for the Veggie Stew with Appam and Lemon Pickle at the booth for the state of Kerela:

I purchased the stew without looking at it, and when I got my plate, I kind of freaked out because it looked like it contained milk (though I may not worry about ghee, I can't eat something that's super-obviously not vegan). But thankfully, it was just coconut milk. The rich, creamy stew of potatoes and carrots was perfect poured over my appam (an Indian flatbread made from rice flour).

After filling up, I wandered over into the shopping area to purchase some bindhis and look at the sari selection. I spotted a booth for Bombay Salon where they were offering free henna! So of course, I got in line. Here's my fresh henna before it was dry. Please ignore my flaking nail polish:

And here's an after picture (note: I fixed my nails too):

Sorry for the super-long post, but I ate a crap-ton of food at India Fest! Also, I'd like to address an anonymous commenter from my last post who requested that I give up some recipes now and then. I've actually posted several from my book in the past. But now that I have a contract, I'm not sure if my publisher will allow me to divulge anymore. Many publishers place restrictions on giving out recipes that will be in the book. I'll check, and if I'm allowed, I'll post a teaser very soon.

Until then, here are a few links to cookbook recipes already on the blog. I didn't tag them well when I originally posted them, so I'm going on memory here. There may be more hidden within the blog, but these are the ones that I can remember for now.

Sample recipes: Cheeze Eggs, Tofu Deviled Eggy Bites, Whole Wheat Beer Bread, Chocolate Gravy (for your biscuits and such), and Country Potato Soup (as featured on the Crazy Sexy Life blog).

23 comments:

Ali - YumVeggieBurger said...

I love your dinosaur t-shirt!

Teddyplanet said...

Wow, Indian food is so amazing! I've never heard of the Ambodes and Vada Pav, but I definitely want to try those now. Also the Ladoo ball sounds really interesting (sweet lentils).
Aaaand I have the same dino shirt as you!!! I love it!

Kiersten said...

I would have had so much fun at the festival. I loooove Indian food. I love going to International festivals to see what other cultures are like, it's always so interesting. I went to a Native American festival a few weeks ago and all they had was arts & crafts (made by non-Native American people) and a hot dog/hamburger stand. Talk about disappointing!

Rick said...

i would have thrown all inhibitions to the door and pigged out at this event. i love me some indian food and it's hard for me to resist the deep-fried tastiness....

Millie said...

I love your haircut...it looks fabulous...especially since we both have the same cut. good job Bianca.

foodfeud said...

Oof, I have to stop reading your posts in the mornings because now I just want Indian food for breakfast.

kirsten said...

Indian food is my go to comfort food...that deep fried thing looks super yummy!
Awesome shirt!

Kandi said...

that food looks soooooooo tasty!! and you're so cute in your dinosaur shirt!! :)

Dianne said...

I love Indian food. I could use a festival like that, if only to show me what comes from where!

Jessica said...

That looks like tons of fun and good food. I also love that you apologized for the nail polish but not the silly bandz! Right on.

Lisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or less!) said...

All the food looks fabulous!

Eric said...

I need some of this Vada Pav you speak of in my life.

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Baby Poopie!

And the food looks delicious, too! What an awesome event.

The Shenandoah Vegan said...

Ummm...waz up w/that sparkly thing on your RING FINGER????? Am I the only one who didn't know you were engaged????

Courtney said...

I love Indian food! Your post looks delish :-)

Courtney

Bianca said...

Ha! I'm not engaged Shen! That's just my promise ring. :-)

vegan.in.brighton said...

That looks like a great day of eating right there! I also love your dino tee!

Pranoop said...

Supper stuff! Reading your blog made me crave for that food even more.

thedalyn said...

That looks amazing. If you haven't checked it out yet. I highly recommend the cookbook "660 Curries." Not only are the recipes fantastic, but he also gives background on some the cultural and regional differences in the food. It's a great read.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Mmm, Ladoo! I have always wanted mendhi on my hands!

The Kuntrageous Vegan said...

oh wow. I really need someone in Nashville who loves indian food to go eat with me. Maybe I'll do that during lunch one day :)

TJF said...

Wada pavs are actually made from lentils. It's a similar recipe for idlis and dosas (which are made with lentils and rice). I actually made 'water-fried' aka boiled wadas the other day just by grinding up soaked urad dal in my Blendtec and drops spoonfuls into soup like dumplings. Ladoos are also frequently made with bean flour -- if you are sensitive at all to dairy you might want to be careful with ladoos as they might have milk or even cheese in them sometimes, as opposed to just ghee. A lot of South Indian food is vegan though, and uses oil instead of butter.

TJF said...

Sorry, you're right about wada pavs. I was thinking of another type of 'wada.'