Dursmall onion sambaring a shopping spree a little over a week ago, I finally found fresh curry leaves, an important ingredient in the cookbook I’m working out of: Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India.

The recipes I chose to make were Beans Poriyal, Colocasia Roast (Small Taro root), Small Onion Sambar, and Curry Powder.  I also boiled potatoes for potato salad, and chopped cabbage for both coleslaw, and Bund Gobi. Much too much for the 12 feet of cooking space in the apartment.

I made the Beans Poriyal, and scorched the spices a bit, it still came out OK, but not great. Not overly fond of the taste. The Colocasia Roast is a labor intensive process. First you boil the taro root, then peel it, then dice it and cook it in the spices, and then roast it for a few minutes in the oven. I failed to turn on a timer when I put it in the oven and burned the Roast. What little I was able to taste was fantastic, and that just made me sad.

The Curry Powder came out just fine. I wasn’t able to use it, it was to go in the Colocasia Roast. But there are other recipes to make that use the powder. After making fresh curry powder, I am stunned that people will buy the stuff on the grocery store shelves. The ingredients I used aren’t listed on the store-bought curries. Just goes to show you the difference between authentic and convenience.

The Small Onion Sambar saved the day for me. It came out full of flavor and zing. I love this recipe. It’s my second attempt, and won’t be my last. It is packed with protein from the dal, with a sweet sour play from the shallots and tamarind. This is going to become a staple in the house.

I’m hoping to do a bit more cooking today. I plan to relax, and just have a good time. There are times that I put pressure on myself to make really great food. When the food comes out mediocre, I get depressed. This used to keep me away from my own kitchen for weeks at a time. A Fail meant that I was a bad cook, I didn’t have the right to play with fire and knives. As a professional cook if I fail, I still have to keep cooking. I still have to get back in there and work. Same with my home kitchen.

So, I had a bad day. The next time I cook, maybe I’ll have a really great day! And discover some new process, or trick to pass along to you.