|Hindu Temple, Calabasas, CA|
"No. I do not. I think it makes people mentally retarded. They do it too much.". This was said dismissively, almost contemptuously by Sacour, who then told me I should go to an ashram and stay six months even though I would hate the first three months of it. Understandably I didn't tell him I do practice yoga, though not enough to make me mentally retarded. New fitness goal?
Having lived in California, and felt a deep sense of inadequacy at the large number of lithe women in form fitting yoga pants, I will pay for the bad karma later, but my self esteem rose a few point at their expense, not that I agree with Sacour, but a lot of these women spend an inordinate amount of time getting their body parts "done" and not so much time helping the poor, for example. I suspect they fast though I doubt it's so they'll be more in union with the universal force. In their defense, low blood sugar probably explains the retarded part and you have to admit, they do look good in yoga pants.
In the course of the evening, I told Sacour about our dinner with Parvine from Bethlehem, PA and Ramdass, from Madras who said we should see Agra by moonlight. ( still makes me smile..)
"Go to Goa. Don't go to North Goa, only to South Goa. No one is North Goa will talk to you." Sacour said.
How can you not laugh at that when the person saying it is from Goa, South Goa, needless to say. He also told me not to try to make my own garam masala, and when I asked if he bought it premixed, I got the same derisive look as I got when I asked him about yoga.
"No of course not, but I know what I'm doing."I insisted that I wanted to learn, and gave me rough proportions, told me where to buy the ingredients stressing the need to buy whole tamarinds, and then he gave me his mother's recipe for bhindi, okra, tomatoes, chilies, onions and some spices, without which it would just be stewed okra and you'd be in Alabama, not Agra
Sacour is getting his Bachelor's degree in psychology in California, his MBA at Harvard, then he's returning to Goa to run his family's business and go into politics, but last night, he brought us pakoras made with artichokes, tandoori eggplant, bindhi masala, more naan than we should have eaten, raita, a cilantro mint chutney I could have consumed as a beverage and cumin scented basmati rice. He also told me about Pioneer Cash and Carry, in Artesia where I should buy only whole tamarind seeds and that yoga meant helping your wife with things around the house, and doing a good job at work, and building something within yourself. I turned to Vegthe Man and introduce him to Sacour as my yogi, and a vegetarian of one week today...
Two recipes. Inspired by and thanks to Sacour, from South Goa. People from South Goa talk to you.
Cilantro Mint Chutney
- 3/4 c chopped cilantro, firmly packed
- 1/2 c fresh mint, also firmly packed
- 1 or 2 jalapenos with seeds or without seeds depending on your tolerance for spice ( mine is high)
- 1 T lemon juice
- 3/4 Greek non fat yogurt ( can't get enough of this stuff , but start with 1/2 cup and stir in the other 1/4 if you want more tart and protein, a big deal as a vegetarian, maybe not so much if you're slathering this on grilled chicken
- salt to taste ~ 1/4 teaspoon
Toss it all in a blender or food processor until it's pureed. Serve with naan, crudites, or as a grilling sauce
- 1 very large cucumber, peeled and seeded, coarsely grated
- 2 cups non fat Greek yogurt ( an homage to tzatziki )
- 1/4 c finely chopped mint, firmly packed
- 1 t. cumin ( I don 't care for nor use cumin in this case, but it's called for so it's in the recipe )
- 1/4 t. cayenne, unless you dislike heat, then leave it out
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cherry tomatoes ( or garden tomato, you want good or nevermind and this is not traditional, but I like the color and the taste of cucumber with this )
- salt to taste
Mix and serve with naan, a curry or as I do sometimes as a salad, in which case, I add 2 more cucumber sliced thinly, 1/4c. slivered red onion, and 1 c halved cherry tomatoes.