An unexpected gift | Recipes

by Elouise

At 11:00 am yesterday I left my house and walked two short minutes to my next-door neighbor’s house for a show and tell cooking lesson. A simple Indian dish he concocted of quinoa and garbanzos. He wanted to cook something that would fit my health needs, and thought this might fit the bill.

I sat on a kitchen stool watching as he started from scratch and put it together, checking each ingredient with me as he went along.

There weren’t any mysterious ingredients or fancy maneuvers at the stove. Just water for the rinsed quinoa (2 cups dry), cooked first (about 4 cups water, no salt) and left to sit when done, covered, while he prepared the flavorings in a large frying pan.

Here’s what went into the frying pan:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, heated, to which he added
  • Sliced fresh garlic – 6 or 7 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon each, cumin seed and mustard seed
  • Turmeric powder to taste
  • Chili powder to taste
  • About 1 teaspoon ground coriander

When the seed were popping and the spices fragrant, he added prepared caramelized onions and let things simmer. Next he added the drained garbanzos (a large can) and let the mixture simmer in the olive oil. Finally, he added another smaller handful of chopped coriander and one chopped yellow onion. Then it all simmered until the onions had lost their bitterness but not their crunch.

Finally, he added the flavorings and beans in the frying pan to the pot of cooked quinoa and mixed everything together.

Then the moment of truth! He served up small portions for everyone present—his twins and their nanny, and me, of course. Delicious. Nourishing. Easy to make.

This unexpected gift came because the day before he’d seen me out walking, asked about my health, and wanted to do something that would be good for me and easy to make for myself. I brought most of it home and had some for lunch today. Yummy!

For me, this was a big event. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much to make my day. Just bits and pieces here and there. A note or email from a friend, a smile from the clerk at the grocery store, seeing friends when I’m out walking, a lovely song on the radio, a late afternoon walk with D, evening birdsong or a call from a family member. Small things that let me know I’m not alone, and that I matter.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 1 June 2017
Photo found at, not the dish described above, but similar

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Portion