The Garlic Difference

Garlic vendor, Kengtung market, Shan State Do you see these garlic bunches? This isn’t the garlic typically found in American markets. You know what I’m talking about—big, fat Chinese garlic, often sold in little net bags, five heads for a dollar (at least that was the going rate in New Mexico when we left). Cheap.…Continue readingThe Garlic Difference

The Kitchen Pharmacy

In Asia, food is more than sustenance. It’s medicine. It’s the key to long life. The world’s oldest healing sciences, such as Ayurveda, rely on diet as a means to healthy body, mind and spirit. “Without a proper diet, medicines are of no use; with a proper diet, medicines are unnecessary,” notes the Charaka Samhita,…Continue readingThe Kitchen Pharmacy

Easy Garam Masala

Last week, I had to do a little recipe testing for an upcoming article (stay tuned and you can read all about it….). One of the dishes featured this beautiful concoction of toasted spices—homemade, home-ground garam masala. Just the sight of these ingredients evokes fall in my mind—deep, rich earth tones with an equally heady…Continue readingEasy Garam Masala

ASK ME! Sweet Thai Iced Tea

Do you have a recipe for sweet Thai iced tea with lemon instead of the condensed or evaporated milk traditionally used? What spices are used? Thank you very much. —Rose in Massachusetts The thing about Thai iced tea is that condensed milk, cream and/or evaporated milk are key to the traditional recipe, which generally calls…Continue readingASK ME! Sweet Thai Iced Tea

Holiday Curry Burgers

Summer comes this weekend, at least to our brains if not our skies (thunderstorms passing through New Mexico this week!). Memorial Day weekend—time to reinstate the grill and pull out that warm-weather attitude. I’ll keep this quick and to the point: three easy, zippy recipes for a Southeast Asian-style grilled dinner (with a hint of…Continue readingHoliday Curry Burgers

Tiny Tea

I’ve been thinking about Kolkata again. This month’s National Geographic has a Calvin Trillin and Ami Vitale essay on the city’s rickshaw pullers. Then, last night, we watched City of Joy. You know—Patrick Swayze. 1992. Bad hair and Hollywood cheese. Actually, it wasn’t nearly as suffocating as it could have been. Plus, I feel bad…Continue readingTiny Tea

Curry Your Heart Out

It’s 4 a.m. and I can’t sleep. This happens sometimes (and sometimes often) when too much gunk weights down my mind. But at least I am in New Mexico, with all of my belongings in one spot. After six years of accumulated dust and mold, we emptied our Oregon storage unit and brought it all…Continue readingCurry Your Heart Out

‘Very Good Taste’

I’m stretching back in time to a place where snacks are of the essence. Let’s face it: India does great snacks. Some of the world’s best popcorn is to be found on Indian streets. Crisp and lightly salted, a hint of masala, a dusting of asafoetida (don’t be deterred by the stink; just a pinch…Continue reading‘Very Good Taste’

Spice Man

Streetside spice vendor outside the Darjeeling zoo In India, you get your spice on the road (in more ways than one). Men stand on the streetside behind aromotic carts covered in sacks of dried spices — cardamom, peppercorns, turmeric, masala, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, golden raisins, Kashmiri saffron. You can sniff it in the air. Pick…Continue readingSpice Man

Made-to-Order Tea

A man stands at a green wooden platform at the edge of a busy street. On his counter he has two small burners, a rudimentary mortar and pestle (much more basic than the one linked here), a bag of black Assam tea, a bag of sugar, a bag of ginger and a cup of cardamom…Continue readingMade-to-Order Tea