Saturday, November 6, 2010

Portable Diwali

No matter if you're Hindu, Jain, or Sikh,
The food you bring to work should shine this week.
Diwali mubaarak, your lunch should say,
In piquant shades of hing and fenugreek.
November marks a return to normalcy for me.  October was different, drastic -- thirty straight days of processed snack foods, gross energy drinks, and exhaustive evening binges capped off by a glut of fun-sized candy bars and baked goods dyed orange.

My wacky new schedule kept me from eating as much or often as I usually do, and as a result, I was constantly hungry and searching for the closest, most convenient thing to devour.  Lots of prepackaged junk gobbled hurriedly during bathroom breaks.  Several protein shake-meal substitutions.  And almost every night when I got home, two or three heavy dinners to make up for the ones I'd missed during the day.  It was like someone told me eating less meant eating better, and I took it upon myself to disprove the myth.

Anyway, now I'm done shooting my film, and it's time to take care of myself again.  I still have a weird schedule, but I'm resolving to start packing more substantial-but-healthy lunches, dinners, and snacks.  If all goes as planned, Portable November will be a series of posts for very busy people -- tasty, nutritive, packable food that's also fast and simple to prepare.  I think the rubaiyat reflect that nicely -- relatively easy to write and quick to read.

First up -- Portable Diwali!  I like to think of this genre of American-Indian fusion as "New Indian."  Here are two tasty, highly Tupperwareable New Indian meals in celebration of the festival of lights.

New Indian Lentil Salad

  • 1/2 cup lentils, cooked
  • 1/2 cup barley, cooked
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • salt, to taste


Mix everything together.  That's it.*

*The name of the game here is simplicity.  I cook a bunch of grains and legumes in my rice cooker, put them in the fridge, and just scoop from various sealed containers and add spices to make mix-and-match meals during the week.  Also, everything can be served either hot or cold, so no worries if you get to work/school and realize there's no microwave.  Pretty convenient, isn't it?

Knockoff Roti Roll



Scoop as much filling as desired onto a tortilla.  Add a dollop of Greek yogurt.  Roll up, microwave for about 20 seconds, and remember how awesome it was to live down the street from this place.


  1. Your Roti Roll knockoff looks amazing and about a thousand times healthier than the real deal. Can you ship these to me?

  2. Thanks!! I think they'd do rather poorly in an overnight shipment, but next time I'm in NY or you're in LA, let's make these babies. (...And also go out for the real thing.)