It's all-Indian, all the time in today's Food section. Indian street foods! Indian eating in the South Loop! What wines go well with Indian food!
In our main feature, Anupy Singla takes us back to her native land, where street foods surround and envelop and surprise and please you at every turn.
(In a happy coincidence, the James Beard Foundation's e-newsletter, which landed in our inbox this morning, included an item on chaat -- the catchall term for Indian snacks -- and info on two upcoming Beard events, where Indian street foods will share menu space with other cocktail fare).
Putting the package together required a trip up to Patel Bros. on Devon. It's amazing how when you've been away from a place you utterly dig, you realize just how much you love it when you're back. At Patel Bros., produce is so incredibly fresh and cheap and the spice section unparalleled. On our visit, the kind owner and patriarch handed out candies to a group of young, distinctly non-Indian Park District campers on an outing.
And now our pantry is equipped with all sorts of ingredients, including garam masala, tamarind paste and the mysterious black salt, which Singla says is THE thing that gives Indian street snacks their oomph.
Singla, by the way, gave us a great story and recipes, but she's a good story on her own. A former TV reporter and anchor, she quit her job a few years ago after realizing that her two young daughters were getting the short end of the stick, culinarily-speaking, because of her own grueling schedule and inability to cook the way she wanted to for them.
So now Singla's cooking every day, working on her first cookbook on Indian Crock-pot cooking ("It's the secret tool in every Indian kitchen," she says), freelancing and writing a blog. Those are some lucky little girls.