The first time I had corn chaat was at my friend Vidya's house. She is definitely a friend whom I would call a superwoman (she has three daughters including a set of twins.) Vidya is a dear childhood friend of mine who moved away when we were in junior high from Toronto to India. Now she lives in Baltimore, and I was lucky enough to go visit her there a little while ago. Keeping in touch with friends who have moved away is a challenging task, especially while juggling the immediate demands of family, local friends, and the ever present demands of working and maintaining a home.
I think friendships develop based on the phase of life that one is going through, Vidya and I enjoyed a friendship as little girls sleeping over, going to music class together, and meeting at community events. There are so many memories we have made together that picking up where we left off was not very hard at all as there is a closeness from our long time friendship that doesn't require too much effort. All of my childhood friends remain close to me in a similar way, we might not talk frequently but its easy to get back into that familiar rhythm.
Its easy to get in the habit of assuming that these old friends don't require 'maintenance', and one can get into a place of not calling or visiting. But friendships like flowers need to be tended. Making time for yearly reunions, and occasions where friends get together regularly is worth the time, money, and energy. Writing this I realize how much time has gone into developing those childhood friends, and how our relationships span decades. Its worth the extra effort to keep these friendships alive.
Below you'll find a recipe for Corn Chaat, a delicious snack that Vidya prepared for Shankar, Gopi and I when we visited her and her beautiful daughters. Its a great item to make for a standalone snack, or as an appetizer at a party!
1 bag frozen corn, or 3-4 ears of corn shucked and trimmed
1 red, yellow or orange pepper
1 large potato, boiled and diced
1 onion (yellow or red) diced
1 tomato diced
1 handful cilantro chopped
1 medium green chili chopped finely
1/8 cup lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp tamarind sauce (store bought)
Masala (1 tsp chaat masala, 1/4 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp roasted and ground jeera)
Store bought Sev for Garnish
1. Microwave the corn for approximate 5 minutes until its cooked nicely and leaves off a delicious aroma.
2. Roast the pepper by covering it in oil and placing in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the the skin and dice up the pepper.
3. Mix all the ingredients together, adding salt to taste.
4. Garnish with cilantro and Sev.