Things I'm Eating: Tahini Noodles by Kamala Puligandla

  • thick cut flour noodles
  • minced garlic
  • grated ginger
  • tahini
  • broccoli
  • soy sauce

I'm officially addicted to these noodles. They began as a "what's left in my fridge?" project and I've been making them every week for a month now. There's something about the way the garlic melts into the tahini and the tahini coats the noodles--it's rich and sticky and I leave the noodles fairly chewy for a satisfying bite. Plus broccoli florets are little flavor sponges, so they're my favorite vegetable to add. I think of it like cacio e pepe, but Asian style. I get my noodles fresh and I'd eat them by the handful plain, which makes this dish impossible to ruin.

All of the ingredients can be adjusted to whatever I have, but I prefer to go with lots of garlic and ginger. I steam the broccoli first (you can also add a touch of olive oil if you like), then add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce and a large overflowing spoonful (plus maybe another) to my frying pan, and mix them up to cook together over low heat. Meanwhile, I cook the noodles for a minute, run them under cold water, then toss them into the frying pan and raise the heat. Things will get sticky and delicious pretty quickly. Add hot sauce on top and they're ready to inhale.

 

 

Things I'm Reading: Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte by Kamala Puligandla

Private Citizens has an early mention of Oberlin College, and while that's not what kept me reading, let's just say I appreciate when a book is speaking to me. Even more when it's making fun of me--and that's what this book does very well, getting me on every level: as a Bay Area native, as a writer, as an Asian person with a long last name, as a well-educated person, as someone who is selfish AND giving, as a glasses-wearer, as someone who finds destructive women interesting/hot, as an avid internet user, as an enjoyer of booze and weed in Dolores Park, and as a believer in stories.

These aren't cheap shots. The book is layered with knowing, revealing jabs that come from a certain grudging love and care. Tony Tulathimutte shows us characters who are perfectly aware of their flaws and much smarter than serves them. Their post-Stanford lives are bursting with such high potential, it seems inevitable when they fall beneath the pressure, return to their old wounds, and in a cocoon of failure, transform into something new and beautiful.

 

 

Things I'm Eating: Yogurt by Kamala Puligandla

I'm a huge fan of Straus Whole Milk yogurt for its mild tang, silkiness and versatility--I put it on salads, in my oatmeal, over rice, with beans, on toast, in my biscuit recipe. Last week, I went over to my parents' house and my mom's friend, Donna, watched somewhat warily as I spooned it over a chopped up beet with salt, pepper and mint. Since before I was born, my dad has been loyal to a yogurt brand called Pavel's, which features an Eastern European milk vendor on its container, and is a less runny, more gelatinous consistency. We have eaten this yogurt with our Indian food for as long as I can remember. I wanted to introduce a new yogurt to their fridge, and so I decided if I made it, as my parents, they wouldn't be able to turn it down. 

That's how I got my mom to re-engage in her college hippie days with me--for those in the know she is also an Obie, with the distinction of being the Head Tofu-Maker at Harkness. We followed these incredibly simple directions on Serious Eats, poured the Straus-inoculated milk into mason jars, and then wrapped them in the heating pad my mom uses to relax her shoulders. Nine hours later it was set. I have to stir it to get that smooth texture, but it's delicious, and now I get twice as much yogurt from my Straus. I offered to leave some for my parents, who politely turned me down, but I'm not even mad, more for me.

Things I'm Reading: The Bigness of The World by Lori Ostlund by Kamala Puligandla

On Tuesday I went to Green Apple on the Park to see Lori Ostlund read at the re-launch of her first story collection The Bigness of the World. I made the idiot mistake of leaving the book at the bar where I went afterwards, but I started reading yesterday and it has swallowed me up. I'm 117 pages in, and rapt with each of her narrators. They're all slightly varied versions of each other, with sharp wit, unrelenting observations, and tough exteriors attributed to her Midwestern upbringing. My friend Katherine says Lori once described this book as "precocious children, and lesbians traveling places and breaking up," which is not an untrue summary. The bigness in the world that we see, includes both the charming, loving and intimate as well as the thoroughly devastating--it's an unfair world where we can catch unmistakable moments of beauty, but not without paying for them.

Things I'm Doing: Hiking at Sibley by Kamala Puligandla

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This is where I go to think through the writing I'm doing. It's always easier for me to figure out where a piece is going and how it fits together when I'm moving along a path myself. There are lots of little trails that branch off and circle around back to each other, which is important because I tend to get lost easily. Plus I often see cows grazing, and you can usually count on some sun here.

Things I'm Eating: Ikura Toast by Kamala Puligandla

 

  • walnut bread, well-toasted
  • yogurt, european style
  • ikura aka salmon roe

Back in 2009, my family when to visit my sister Maneka in St. Petersburg, where she was stuyding abroad. Her host mother, Nina, invited us over one evening and, along with some vodka, pickled herring and plof, gave us a piece a bread that was smothered in butter and then covered with salmon roe on top. Maybe it was because it was just layer upon layer of fat and it was so salty and the weather was so cold outside, but this was one best things I've ever eaten. This year, after my family's Japanese new year celebration, we had some leftover ikura and I decided to make my own version. The walnut bread adds a crunch and if you toast it for a while (okay, to near-blackened) you get a nice touch of bitterness. I like yogurt because it's silky but also slightly tangy, and these beautiful, oily pouches need something to contrast with.