We rose naturally with the sun. Not rushed, or hurried, but that luxurious rarity of “because it felt right”. We dressed and packed our souvenirs before heading down to find something to eat. We seated ourselves in the cheerful courtyard, not far from the shining turquoise pool shimmering in the sunlight bringing up memories of last night’s swim alcohol fueled skinny dip. A small Indian woman brought us water and coffee while we waited for breakfast to materialize. The table was festively decorated with a tiny red pepper plant.
The owner of the hotel greeted us cheerfully and thanked us for staying, and even said hello to Mister Pants. He explained that he had recently opened the hotel. He was having trouble importing all the spices he needs for traditional Indian cuisine, so he’s been forced to improvise with local ingredients. He went on to describe his creative vision for the space, complete with real rose petals carpeting the ground. It sounded magical, and I hope to visit again when he gets it up to his high standards. But as it currently sits, I believe it’s the only place in the world that I know of where Indian and Nicaraguan fusion is happening in the kitchen.
By the time we made it home we were all hot and exhausted and needed bask in the sacred flow of the air conditioner. Eve somehow had the energy to make Gallo Pinto for dinner, and I was never so grateful for beans and rice.
In honor of our earnest Indian hotelier’s incredible breakfast- which I dare not attempt to recreate lest I ruin it and the memory of it; I offer a curry recipe. Curry started out in India much like our host, but curry wasn’t always hot. Peppers are from South and Central America and so eventually the peppers made their way into the curry dishes of India that we know and love today. This recipe is inspired by that original fusion of cultures, that blends so beautifully together. We’ll be serving the curry with a Candied Coconut Quinoa, that is great by itself but since it also originates in South America let’s try it along with the curry instead of the traditional east indian rice.
Candied Coconut Quinoa
1 cup red organic quinoa
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup filtered water
pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Rinse quinoa under cool water. Throw in a medium sauce pan to toast over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 can of coconut cream 1/2 cup coconut Milk and 1/2 cup filtered water. Bring to simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or so and wait until the first wiff of something burning. The first time I did this I thought I ruined the quinoa- but actually, I just happened upon something unexpected. The resulting quinoa will be crunchy, sweet, and flavorful. The sugars in the coconut cream tend to caramelize into something akin to molasses. I like to season it with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. This is delicious by itself but we’re making this to go with our curry instead of the more traditional rice since quinoa comes from South America. So let’s get to it!
Set aside and focus on your curry. Once the quinoa is sorted it can keep for a few days if needed.
2 table spoons coconut oil
1 table spoons coconut cream
4 cloves of garlic ( grate these)
3 tablespoons ( grate this too)
1 tablespoon fresh ground cumin
2 teaspoons fresh ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric ( turmeric is the essential spice in curry )
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 can watercress
1 sweet potato
1 small broccoli crown
1/2 small white onion
1.5 cups of coconut milk ( more to taste if you want more sauce )
Snow pea slivers and mint to garnish
Curry is all about the spice mix. Grate your garlic and fresh ginger. Set aside while you measure out your spice mix. Drain and rinse chick peas set aside. Cube sweet potato. Chop broccoli into florets.
Make your spice blend
Grate your garlic and ginger fresh. If you have whole seed spices grind a fresh batch.
Heat oil until sizzling. Turn heat down to low when you add in your garlic and ginger spices. Add onion. It will be pretty dry at this point- that’s ok. It acts to toast the spices. Add your broccoli until it turns bright green. Add sweet potatoes.
after it’s cooked a wee bit ( the broc should be bright green) add your coconut milk
and 1 table spoon coconut cream. Mix and simmer for about 5 minutes. After that’s cooked a bit add your water cress and your chick peas. simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve over quinoa and garnish with snow pea slivers and a mint sprig on top.