Tuesday, December 20, 2005
A week ago Sunday I had the priviledge of meeting Nupur, her fiance V., and their beloved Dale. If you read Nupur's blog or have come to know her through her comments on other blogs, you probably already have an idea of what a nice person she is... and so did I. But I had no idea as I approached her apartment in New York City of how much I would enjoy our visit, how easy our conversation would be, or how warm her welcome would be.
I had contacted Nupur a few weeks back when I knew I'd be spending a day or so in New York on the way up to Vermont. I suggested we meet for coffee or something, but Nupur immediately extended an invitation to me to have tea with her in her home. As the date approached she sent me another email and suggested that I select a recipe from her blog for something I'd like to try during my visit. Of course, I had trouble narrowing it down to a single recipe and I wound up listing several that appealed to me. Deep down though, I knew which one I was hoping she'd make - her Batata Vadas, potato fritters with chiles, onions, and many other wonderful flavors. To my delight, the fritters are what Nupur decided to make! I wasn't the only one thrilled at the prospect of eating them - V. was pretty happy as well. He said they reminded him of college where these treats, readily available from street carts, were always just a few steps and a small amount of money away.
Needless to say, the fritters were incredible. Nupur had prepared the potato mixture and the chickpea flour batter ahead of time, but shaped and cooked them as I watched. She made the assembly and frying of the fritters look so easy that I am determined to make them myself, even if it does involve deep fat frying! Nupur also served a couple of other things which I'm afraid I don't have names for. The first was a mixture of rice flakes (sort of like rolled oats, only rice), peanuts and raisins (if I'm remembering right). This was also seasoned with some spices. A very tasty and addictive snack! She also served me a sweet which she characterized as a "dry pudding". It was a sweetened mixture of cream of wheat, nuts, and I'm not sure what else. It was just moist enough so that when lightly pressed into a cup, it held its shape when turned out onto a plate. It was delicious. Finally we had tea - a sweet milky tea with ginger and I think some other spices - yum!
While the food was fantastic, it is the opportunity I had to talk with Nupur and get to know her a little better that I will treasure most. What a kind, generous, and intelligent woman she is! I instantly felt at ease talking with her and really got a kick out of comparing notes with a fellow food blogger. As I was about to leave, Nupur gave me a gift from India - the beautiful bag you see pictured above. Meeting Nupur was a wonderful, wonderful experience.