These cozy soup and bread dinners provide pure comfort

These cozy soup and bread dinners provide pure comfort

Roti Dal has always been my home base. It is comfort food in its simplest, simplest, most pragmatic form, and through many tedious purchases I have found that no purchased or frozen iteration can do it justice.

The popping oil from temperate spices, the kitchen exhaust roaring loudly, and the scream from the pressure cooker signaling it’s time to set the table are essential parts of the experience. An addition to its appeal is that the valley can be adapted indefinitely. Some boil the lentils down to a creamy consistency, while others let them retain a toothy bite. Everything from the spices used to temper the thickness – ranging from slurpable soup to the stew that sticks to the bones – can be tailored at the moment. It is a warming, nourishing, nutritious meal, and its rejuvenating properties multiply when eaten with family and loved ones.

Our ritual: My mother whips roti up, her bare hands deftly touch the smoking hot cast iron stawa with dexterity and speed I can not dream of approaching. My brother and I are waiting at the table for her to pass the inflated roti, the steam escaping from the edges, from the tawa to our plates, and we are obsessed with the “relationship”. Too much valley left in our bowl forces us to ask for another roti. If there’s a bite roti left, we’ll have to serve ourselves another serving of dal. So we go back and forth and linger at the table until we are full and our fingers are colored yellow by turmeric, hoping for the elusive, perfect last bite. – Antara Sinha

While most of my daycare buddies anxiously waited for the tooth fairy, I went to bed in anticipation of a guest unique to our home alone: ​​the soup fairy. Our courtship was fleeting, but memorable; if I ate my soup for dinner without protest, I would wake up to a crisp reward of $ 5 under the pillow. I rarely finished my toast and hit payday.

As an adult now seeking to make up for the stubborn, soupless childhood years, I often make a classic Turkish soup with chickpeas and barley, topped with a heap of spoonfuls of dried mint leaves and Urfa pepper. Relying on yoghurt – even yoghurt almost over its prime – for its sour taste, it is an optimal dinner for snow-covered nights when you do not want to wander out to the grocery store. Although most Turks will opt for pide bread for this soup, the potato and cheese-packed velibah from North Ossetia, a region of the Russian Federation, is a particular delight for my family. (My mother’s side comes from the region, which is also my namesake.) In my grandmother’s kitchen in Istanbul, I spent hours sipping sugary black tea and watching butter slide into the cracks of veliba and wonder how much the paper-thin layers could swallow. Along with this soup, it’s as unorthodox a relationship as myself, a Turkish American named after a region in the North Caucasus. I would not have it any other way. —Oset Babür

I grew up in the Bronx, where the taste of your family’s curry was as personal as the block you grew up on. Everyone’s mom made their own version, and I quickly came to recognize the different flavor, heat, and spice profiles from the curry mixes I tried as a kid. I learned that while heavy turmeric, pimiento seeds, fenugreek, cumin and cilantro are usually in your standard curry, the true signature of a large iteration was in the balance between the spices.

I was blessed enough to not only grow up eating West African dishes, but also to have had people from the Caribbean and Caribbean in and around my family. The ingredients that my mother used most often were the same ingredients that my friends’ parents cooked with, and even today they have a strong nostalgia for me. Separately, ingredients like Scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, thyme and garlic are staples in my household, but when combined in a curry, the aroma is nothing short of electrifying.

These days, I like to bring home the Caribbean influence in a coconut-shrimp curry that I combine with doubles, two turmeric- and cumin-spiced bara. As kids, my best friends and I walked up the hill from our church every Sunday to grab bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches; beef tail with peas and rice; and of course the hot flatbreads. As an adult, I just love more than ever, especially as a tool for curry. The rendition I share here, a proposal for a traditional South Asian-inspired Trinidadian street food, uses a generous serving of dough for each flatbread, creating a more hearty vibe to the tasty accompaniment you want to add. -Eric Adjepong

Mole Verde has a special place in Masala y Maíz cuisine. It was on our first menu when we opened our restaurant in Mexico City in 2017 and has since been a staple in some form. This richly textured, spicy, deeply aromatic mol verde is our bid for one of Norma’s abuela’s classic recipes that Norma always asked for for her birthday. It’s a dish to party, a dish that captures a sense of joy that we wanted our restaurant to embody. While the roots of this mole are pre-Columbian and based on a pipián, a troublesome sauce with a base of roasted and ground pepitas, sesame seeds and fresh chili and herbs, our mole verde draws on of mixed race, or mix of our South Asian and Mexican cultures. It is a smooth, rich pipián with a spice profile similar to what you would find in Saqib’s North Indian cuisine. Like much of our food at Masala y Maíz, our mole verde tastes both very Mexican and very desi.

This is not a quick everyday dish, but one to simmer all day and fill your home with a beautiful aroma. It tastes of love and feels like care. Garnish your mole with thin slices of garlic and roasted sesame seeds, and serve with a side of beans and rice. Make sure everyone has some hot, fresh corn tortillas or bolilla buns to wipe up every last bite. – Norma Listman and Saqib Keval

It was with my French lover that I first came across the word “le quignon”. The rounded heel of a baguette was used to soak up the broth pieces from fried chicken that had been seeped down onto the plate. The word stood out to me for its specificity. It was not just a torn corner of bread – it had a purpose: to help scrape the sides of a bowl down or enjoy the herby mirepoix that had escaped a puree.

My partner and I had reached the skeer-down, sop-it-up stage of our relationship. Our hands were also busy: one hand held the side of the bowl while the other grabbed the ragged corner of the quignon and lured pieces of fish and seafood bisque into our mouths.

We would never eat like that in a restaurant. In these surroundings I would pay attention to my table manners, and so much would be left in the bowl.

Relaxed eating habits often take place only in the comfort of one’s home, shared between family, close friends and loved ones. When sitting across from your girlfriend, it is acceptable to lick the frosting of your wrist, double-dip chopsticks in the common rice or soar over the caldo de pollo while your quignon absorbs the sour broth.

In the end, the quignon comes to the bottom of everything and touches the depth of any dish. It helps you put your spoon – and your guard – away from you and enjoy. When you are done, your elbows can go back on the table. – Jamila Robinson


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