I’m so disorganized. R’s school had an international potluck lunch today. I had been whatsapp-ing (texting on an app called whatsapp) with my cousin all morning, but hadn’t bothered to glance at my calendar to confirm the date. I had planned what I was going to bring to the potluck–pakora (fritters). They came frozen from the Indian grocery store and I was going to quickly fry them up, lay them out in a nice dish and serve with ketchup. Easy peasy, but quite domestic diva-ish. I’d already licked my milk mustache in my mind. All I had to do was take a shower and then leisurely prep it for 11:30. This was my plan:
9:45 – shower
10 – dressed and in the kitchen
10:30 – ready and done
Until time to go – follow post-election analyses
Things got a little delayed (because the last thing to-do happened first), but I was still in the kitchen at 10:45, so no cause for panic. Now this cousin that I was texting with obviously did not know my timeline. I happened to text her about the potluck while the oil for heating up for the frying. It was when I told her that I was bringing pakoras that it all fell apart. She said they would be no good cold, I said there’s not many Indian snacks that take cooling well, she said I should think of something else, I said I had no time. She backed off, but the damage was done. The seed was sown. It was 11 and I knew I wasn’t bringing pakoras. What now?!
My cousin suggested an alternative in chana chaat. It was quick and easy to prepare, yummy and nutritious for kids and as non-allergenic a snack for school as any. Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand. Normally I would use overnight soaked and boiled beans for this, but I always have chickpea cans in the pantry for quick turnaround. Today gave new meaning to the “quick” in the “turnaround”. A lick and a tic later, I was done! Although I don’t advise you to leave your preps until this last a minute, I was still out the door at 11:20. Give this a try; I bet it won’t disappoint.
2 15oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, minced
1 small green pepper, deseeded and diced
1 small tomato, diced
2 tbsp diced cucumber (about 4″ round, deseeded)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tbsp vegetable oil
salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste
1 tbsp minced cilantro, for garnish
Boil chickpeas in a pot of water for 6-7 minutes and drain. Meanwhile chop vegetables and dump into a big bowl. In a frying pan, heat oil to almost smoking. Add cumin seeds. As soon as they splutter add chickpeas. Saute for a minute. Toss beans with veggies, salt, pepper, lemon juice and cilantro. Refrigerate until serving.
Note: This salad can be served hot or cold. Preparing it a day ahead lets the flavors meld and makes it even more delicioso!
I would love to say this chaat went over so well at the party that all the parents present fell to my feet for the recipe. I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I said that kids threw tantrums that I wasn’t their mom who made them such wholesome snacks all the time. I would say I impressed the teachers immeasurably with my creativity, craftiness and care for my child’s well-being.
I would, but I can’t. Because, the party never happened. It never was supposed to happen today. I got to school armed and ready, looked around for any parental activity, and on finding none, finally checked my calendar. Tomorrow. I was to do it all tomorrow. All the franticity (is that even a word?) wasted. Bah.
Well, I got a chickpea salad out of it, so that counts for something. And, a lesson learnt.