We mentioned last week that our friends Stef and Ken had decided to rock the vegan action for a week, so we thought it would be fun to get together and do some serious cooking. They were game for any type of food, so we thought we'd try an Indian feast.

The Menu

Two nights later, we also revisited our old Indian Dal recipe as well as a standard vegan naan, just for good measure, thus declaring this Indian Week here at IV. We'll be posting all of these recipes throughout the week, so stay tuned!

And...Some Thoughts

As with many vegans, Indian food was one of our first exotic culinary love affairs. Over the years, we've gotten closer and closer to authentic on many dishes, but have never fully mastered any of them, so every time we try it's sort of an adventure. And did I mention? Team Stef and Ken got cooks. So what better way to perfect a recipe than to get some feedback from other folks?

Cooking with other people is one of our favorite activities. It's not just the task-sharing or equal-stakes-in-the-meal thing; it's a way of connecting with people. Everyone has a different cooking style and, depending on the mix of people, will fall into certain roles. Some folks love the chaos of managing multiple dishes on the stovetop, spicing at will. Others like the regimented baking process. Still others are happy to sous chef or are "runners" (those folks awesome enough to run to the store for that one ingredient you inevitably forgot).

And what else are you doing? You can talk while you cook. You can drink while you cook. There'll be time for games or a movie after you eat (unless you don't eat until like 10:30 and drink waaay too much while cooking...then there will just be sleeping).

A Brief Stroll Down Memory Lane

I remember my first experience really cooking down with other people--making Indian food in my friend Uncle Nathan's kitchen (I think that first menu was Spicy Chick Peas and Kale [like a chana], Kofta, some sort of naan, and rice). I'd only been vegan for a year or two at that point, so I was sous chef-ing for the most part. I'd just begun my own forays into Indian food, which at the time seemed pretty good. In retrospect, I can't imagine using roughly a cup of spices (I later learned about hot and cool spices from an Indian friend).

[Actually, my first forays were into collaborative baking--in this case "Man Baking" with my friend and vegan sire Nick, which involved splurging on good vodka, drinking a lot of it, then making cookies with kids cereal (think Cocoa Puffs) in them.]

An Invitation

Interested in cooking down? We're always hip to cook together, taking fledgling vegans under our wing, embarking on culinary adventures with the vegan-curious, or just communing with friends who like great food.