Apple Pie “Gujiya”: An American Diwali Treat

This post was originally going to be titled “What It’s Like to Be An Indian-American in October”, but I figured you’d be drawn in by a flaky, buttery pastry instead :)

The holidaze have started for our family. And we aren’t even into Thanksgiving season!

Managing a family birthday, a yearly music holiday (ACL of course!), and two other holidays (let’s call those Diwaloween for now) has my mind all over the place. (That’s where that mindfulness I was talking about in my last post has really helped!)

We decorated the exterior of our house in skulls and cemeteries and lined the interior with boldly colorful divas and vivid rangoli patterns. We bought our Halloween costumes, and unburied our boxes of chaniya cholis, dandiyas, and bindis, all in the same week.

Initially I called this a tug of war of holidays in October, but in fact there is no one side that needs to prevail. The fulcrum of the seesaw, with one end Diwali (INDIA) and the other end Halloween (AMERICA), is my core belief of family. We sit between the cultures, between the holidays, and we balance them out. One holiday comes in, the other one goes out, and we remain present and in the middle. We want to take it all and be the center of it all.

We have a persistent desire to grasp the hold of heritage and history. And we harbor the intrigue of our country, the one we live in and adore and admire. I am American indeed, but I won’t forget India. No matter how diluted our generation and the next get, I’ll hold on, magnetized to my family history.

Allegorically, that seesaw of two cultures manifests in my food life. Sometimes, I stay true to one side and crave khichri or dhoklaa, or curries and chapatti, but often I veer to the other side, cooking up pot pies and mashed potatos. Sometimes I combine the two, and sometimes I’m ardently a purist. I am confused, but blessed. I am a true ABCD, but I am also American as apple pie.

DSC_0003

Apple Pie Turnovers

I used a book on hand pies called Handheld Pies for the recipe. But I have also used any pate brisee crust recipe and created my own filling with apples, cinnamon, sugar, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, and butter. Some links that I’ve bookmarked: 

Mindfulness

DSC_0019

Mindfulness. I feel like that word is permeating my life like an infusion of, well, nothing. It’s too intangible. It’s not like food, which is what my life is used to. Things to be touched. Felt. Smelled. Held. What’s mindfulness? I didn’t get it for a long long time and still don’t, despite being around… 

Read More »

Austin Indian Eats and Groceries

Routinely in class, I get a few questions: Question: “What’s your favorite Indian restaurant in Austin?” Answer thus far: “None, really. I don’t eat Indian food out often enough to judge that fairly”. Question:  “What’s a family-friendly Indian restaurant?” Answer: Most are family-friendly and baby-friendly in terms of atmosphere. Food generally is spicy even if… 

Read More »

Delicata Squash with Tamarind-Apple Relish

DSC_0007

Autumn is here, even in Texas! After our unusually mild summer, I shouldn’t be surprised that Fall vegetables have already made it to the farmers’ markets. I excitedly picked up delicata squash, which is one of the varieties of squash that is actually not found all throughout the cold season. I remember trying to teach… 

Read More »

Bing Cherry Salsa

Hood River Bing Cherries

Our Texas summer doesn’t end in August, but cherry season seems to! I grabbed a few last bunches of cherries last week, flown in from Hood River. Silly that I did that, considering we just were IN Hood River a few weeks ago! At the Cherry Festival there, we hopped from place to place in… 

Read More »