“Mama are we really really having a feast today?!” exclaimed my 4 year old when she saw this big gorgeous bird on the table. My 8 year old ran out and followed suit with an enthusiastic “woohoo Thanksgiving!” Since we are all friends here I will freely admit that this didn’t exactly happen on Thanksgiving since I am sharing this recipe with you a few days before! It did however give me a serious pause and I began to wonder why it is that although Canada Day, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc have so naturally become part of our lives we had yet to adopt the tradition of a Thanksgiving dinner. We value family and spending together, we teach our kids to express gratitude for blessings big and small. Yet, yet…
For the longest time my daughters would insist they don’t like qeema. I try not to take this personally but for someone who grew up on Aaloo Qeema and Daal this was hard to stomach. Then one day we were at a friends house for brunch and she had made a chicken qeema and lo and behold they were gobbling it up. Naturally I smiled and was all like “look at you,that’s great!” but inwardly I had that ugly moment that every mom has had. That “what’s wrong with my qeema” moment.
To this day I am not sure what the answer to that question is – I will stick to my guns on my making of a really good Aaloo Qeema as well as a good Chicken Karahi Qeema. However, I have discovered there is something about the quick magic of Methi Qeema that my kids really like.
There is a kind of summer afternoon that is almost magical. The afternoon that is neither too hot nor too cold, pleasantly breezy, and magically mellow. As I sit and type this I hear the gentle swishing of leaves and branches, the lake water lackadaisically lolling against the dock, the kids quietly painting, and Coke Studio in the background. We are up in the Kawarthas for our annual cottage vacation. The first time we came up here my little one wasn’t born yet and now she is the one who is most enthusiastic and will plunge right into the lake on overcast days with an infectious glee.
There are few dishes that can stand on their own. That don’t need a second fiddle, a side, anything else really except the garnishes that accompany it. Biryani is one such dish, but if I am to be honest than my favourite one dish meal is Nihari. With it’s strong spices, beautifully tender meat, the sourness of the lemon, that bright leafy cilantro. If I had a last meal request it would be Nihari.
There are foods that I think of as Paratha foods, the kinds where even the tenderest chapati does not have the same oomph. A good Dum ka Keema, spicy, smoky, heady punctured with the brightness of mint, the boldness of ginger, that just calls for parathas. It is the one dish that I will always eat at a dinner because there is something about this potent combination I find hard to resist. If there are parathas on the table then whose counting helpings. Definitely not me.