It’s really all Sanchaita’s fault.
When I was visiting my sister Bethie, her friend Sanchaita invited us to dinner. She cooked the most amazing chickpea curry — as part of a feast of other amazing dishes, I should add — and when I asked what kind of magic and rainbows went into it, she said it was just chana masala, with a shrug like that was nothing special.
Well, I started with a packet of chana masala from Patel Brothers on Maynard Street, and it really does include all the sunshine and rainbows and Indian restaurant flavors! My previous chickpea curries tasted a lot like chickpeas that had been boiled with some curry powder. (Shut up. It was much better than my artichokes or that time I tried to boil water.)
Once I was in the store, though I realized that I could buy paneer, and packets of pakora mix or dosai mix, and all kinds of other instant exotic tastes. Then I got adventurous and tried new recipes, and I’m pretty impressed with my not-from-a-packet dal. I even added some new spices to our herb garden.
It was only when we were outside feeding stale naan to the turtles that I realized I just might have an Indian food problem.