An extraordinary train journey to Goa.
(Please scroll down to the end of the page for the recipe)
We all were waiting eagerly for our train to Goa at the train station. It was our college trip. Naturally, everyone was so happy. To add to our jovial moods, the mother nature gifted us with a beautiful rainy day.
I feel so loved when I am blessed by nature, more so, when rain gives me those goose bumps. I would just love to go for never-ending long journeys. When the water drops reach down from the sky, there is a distinct smell of the soil. I just love everything during and after the rain. There is an odor in the wind. You see the lush green nature. You see a deep blue sky. You hear birds chirping.
So, I did not mind much that the train was running 30 minutes late. And we all were divided into groups as usual.
Altogether, we were 24 students (15 boys and 9 girls) and 3 teachers. All of us got split automatically into 4 batches; 2 batches of girls, and 2 batches of boys. This was the regular thing which we always used to do in college. Habitually, we did the same at train station too. Yes, I know it’s not an equal division, if you go by the number of students in each batch. But that was it. Old habits die hard, and friends seldom want to be with non-friends.
I chose to be a part of the group of girls which had all of my friends. Preeti was also in the same group. She was my bestie and she still is, even after so many years.
Now, we don’t talk everyday, but we still are the bestest of the buddies. No matter how far we are living, we still have places in each other’s hearts. I am lucky to have a friend like her in my life. Sometimes, when your hearts are connected, distances are just numbers.
While waiting for the train on that rainy day, I seriously started to crave for my favorite ginger cardamom tea. In an earlier post, I have written about my occasional tea cravings. The post was about ginger cardamom tea.
“Oh! I cannot resist that aroma of the cardamom tea in this rainy weather.
I wish someone could get me that hot cup of tea”, I said in a bubbly voice.
Preeti knew what I meant exactly. So she said, “I will only go and grab a cup of tea for you, if you promise that next time you will do what I say”.
“Yes, yes, I promise, I will do whatever you say. Now go please”, I said with a cheerful wide grin.
The floor was very slippery due to rain. As Preeti walked towards the tea-stall, she slipped, and hit the ground. Reacting to this, the rest of the girls laughed. Seeing that, Preeti felt embarrassed, and a bit raged. The girls indeed added insult to her injury. So, I rushed to help her get up. It all happened in an instant.
“Are you feeling alright?”, I asked. She looked just fine. So I said, “it’s Okay Preeti. Don’t we do the same thing when someone hits the ground”? She looked at me mischievously, and then we both chuckled.
“The station floor was slippery and you were wearing the heels on a wrong day”, I said to her, winking.
“I am perfectly fine. Just a strain on the wrist,” she said. All of the three teachers came to us, and asked about what happened.
“Preeti, are you alright,” asked one of the teachers. “Yes, I am good”, she replied.
Finally, our train arrived.
“Stop chatting, and hurry up students. We all need to get on the train in time”, one of the teachers shouted.
One of the teachers informed us by saying, “Students, we have booking in 4 compartments. Also we have some seats in the coach which are near to the door. But as you all know that Preeti is hurt, so she will get to choose the seat first.”
Preeti pulled my hand and whispered in my ear, “I will sit near you”.
“Yes yes, don’t worry, I will be with you”, I blinked. She sighed.
We all jumped on the train. Preeti and I chose the seats next to the door. Inside the train, we were all settling our luggage, and train took to the speed even before we settled down.
Finally, after settling, I looked outside the window to look at the gorgeous views. “Everything becomes so beautiful after rain, I can just watch the view for hours without blinking,” I told to Preeti. She smiled. And I continued with my feast for the eyes.
After a couple of minutes, Preeti interrupted me by saying, “Would you rather enjoy the view alone, or would you like to relish it along with a cup of steaming hot tea?”
I looked back towards her, and saw a man standing behind her with a tea kettle. Preeti and I exchanged a thrilled glance. I hugged her and said, “Yes please”.
We enjoyed our tea with some tittle-tattle. While we were busy gossiping, a cute 7 year old boy came to us and said, “Hello”.
Preeti and I smiled back at him, and said ‘hello’. “I am Ronak”, he said. Then we introduced ourselves to him.
“He is my brother, Akshat, and that is my Mom”, he said. We greeted both of them, who were sitting at a distance.
His Mom was a beautiful woman, aged about 35, and his 10 year old brother was charming too.
After a few minutes, Ronak’s Mom started a conversation by asking, “Where are you all going?”
“We are going to Goa on a college trip”, said Preeti. “And you?”, I asked.
“We are going to Mumbai”, she answered.
We told her about our college and she told us about her family. We girls were having fun with this happy little family.
I observed that Akshat was only smiling and listening, but he did not speak any word yet.
“How old are you?” I asked to Akshat. He told me in sign language, 10.
“Akshat cannot speak but he can answer all of your questions”, his Mom said with her dimpled cheeks. Suddenly, we felt sympathy for them and Ronak’s Mom sensed it. She said, “Please don’t be sorry for us. Despite his disability, he is a very brilliant kid, and we are all proud of him.”
Ronak and Akshat looked so happy together, and Ronak understood everything whatever Akshat told in his sign language. The two brothers shared a great bond.
It was dinner time when Ronak’s Mom took out her elegantly packed lunch which she carried with her. As she started unwrapping it, an awesome aroma filled the air. Oh! What was it? Our eyes could not help, but dart at the box.
Imagine, how would you feel at the smell of good home-made food. Awesome, wouldn’t you. Especially, if you are a hostelite. We felt the same way.
Our mouths watered. Preeti and I started chatting just to avoid that sudden stomach growling. Just at the time we girls were struggling to control our hunger, Ronak’s Mom took out some Paratha (flat-bread). She spread some coconutty curry and made two rolls from the Parathas.
Oh God! That aroma simply made us mad. She gave one roll each to Ronak and Akshat. Then, she made one more roll, and offered that to us. “Come on, have it”, she insisted. We wanted to grab it badly, but that would have been so rude.
And anyways, we were always been taught by our parents and teachers not to take anything from strangers. And, in that regard, Ronak’s Mom was a stranger too.
“Please have it. It will make us happy”, she insisted further.
“No no, we are good. Thanks for this offer. It’s just that our dinner will be served soon. And there would be less food for you”, I said.
Then she said realizing that we were indeed hungry, “We have more than enough food and I would be happy to share.”
Preeti and I looked at each other in a dilemma. “Okay, we both will share one roll”, Preeti suggested.
Then we took just one roll. And when I took the first bite, I felt like I hit the Jackpot. “It is just beyond delicious”, I spoke with my mouth stuffed.
“Thank you, my Mom made this”, she said.
“Your Mom cooks awesome stuff”, I said with amazement. She smiled and said, “YES, she is an amazing cook”.
“Granny is the best,” Ronak declared, and we all laughed.
She offered us one more roll, soon after we finished the first one. But, unlike the first time, this time Preeti and I did not even hesitate mildly.
However, we did not tell this to our teachers. We had to say that we are not very hungry when our dinner packs came. Preeti and I shared from a single pack.
This dinner pack was just for filling our stomachs, because our hearts were all with that coconut curry rolls.
We all had such a great time. Next day at the Mumbai station, we greeted goodbyes to the family.
Goa trip was a total fun trip. I believe, this story is getting longer so I will share some memories of our trip some other day.
So, why did I share this story today?
Because, my today’s recipe is all inspired by that same roll we had during that train journey.
The dish is Broccoli Paratha With garlic roasted veggies and spiced coconut sauce.
Am I dreaming about that roll? Yes, I am.
I recently put an Indian twist on tacos at home. I made warm broccoli paratha, which is similar to tortillas — stuffed with pepper roasted veggies, and topped with spiced coconut sauce. Topping that with some red grapes and cucumber, and I was all set to have a taco night.
This dish has quickly become a favorite with me. If you haven’t tried pepper roasted veggies yet, do yourself a favor, and introduce this awesome stuff to yourself.
These would take you on a really different flavor profile. The spicy flavors play really well with the broccoli paratha, roasted veggies and curried coconut. Spices indeed makes it spectacular. You just have to make these rolls or tacos once, and soon you will realize how much you love these distinct flavours.
I have to say only three things about these rolls, or tacos:
- These are delectable.
- These have distinct flavour.
- These are more the word delicious.
Would you need anything else which would get you inspired for these pungent delights? I think not! 🙂
So let’s learn to make Broccoli Paratha With garlic roasted veggies and spiced coconut sauce.
Take a food processor. Add broccoli florets, salt, cumin seeds, green chilies, garlic, turmeric powder, and grind it.
In a mixing bowl add wheat flour, ground broccoli mixture and salt. Mix well knead into a soft dough, using enough water.
Cover with a cling film and keep aside it for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 balls.
Roll each ball to make a circle into 3″ to 4″ in diameter.
Heat a pan, and roast dough circle from one side, and flip over to another side.
Brush oil on both sides, and roast for few seconds again. Repeat the same process with remaining dough balls.
Preheat oven to 400° F/ 200°C.
In a large bowl, toss all the vegetables together with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Divide the vegetables among two jelly roll pans.
Roast vegetables for 30-35- minutes.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mustard seeds for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to pop.
Add the onion, ginger-garlic paste, coriander, garam masala, turmeric powder. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes, and chilli powder. Saute for about 3 minutes.Add coconut milk, salt and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
To serve, add 2 tbsp of roasted veggies to a warm broccoli paratha. Top with spiced coconut sauce. Add some grapes and cucumber slices. Squeeze lemon juice. Enjoy!
- whole wheat flour - 2 cup
- broccoli florets, boiled - 1 ½ cup
- turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- garlic - 1 clove
- cumin seeds - 1 tsp
- salt to taste
- oil for roasting
- potatoes peeled, and cut into wedges - 2
- red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced into wedges - 1
- white onion peeled, and cut into wedges - 2
- yellow bell pepper, deseeded and sliced into wedges - 1
- green chilies, roughly chopped - 2
- pepper powder - 1 tsp
- garlic powder - 1 tsp
- olive oil - 2 tbsp
- olive oil - 2 tbsp
- mustard seeds - 1tsp
- fresh green chillies, deseeded and chopped - 2
- onion, ginger garlic paste - 4 tbsp
- ground coriander - ½ tsp
- garam masala
- curry powder
- turmeric powder
- chili powder
- tomatoes, chopped - 1
- 300 ml coconut milk
- sea salt
- cucumber, slices
- fresh lemon
- Take a food processor. Add broccoli florets, salt, cumin seeds, green chilies, garlic, turmeric powder, and grind it.
- In a mixing bowl add wheat flour, ground broccoli mixture and salt. Mix well knead into a soft dough, using enough water.
- Cover with a cling film and keep aside it for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 balls. Roll each ball to make a circle into 3″ to 4″ in diameter.
- Heat a pan, and roast dough circle from one side, and flip over to another side.
- Brush oil on both sides, and roast for few seconds again. Repeat the same process with remaining dough balls.
- Preheat oven to 400° F/ 200°C.
- In a large bowl, toss all the vegetables together with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Divide the vegetables among two jelly roll pans.
- Roast vegetables for 30-35 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mustard seeds for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to pop.
- Add the onion, ginger-garlic paste, coriander, garam masala, turmeric powder. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Add chopped tomatoes, and chilli powder. Saute for about 3 minutes.Add coconut milk, salt and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
- To serve, add 2 tbsp of roasted veggies to a warm broccoli paratha.
- Top with spiced coconut sauce. Add some grapes and cucumber slices.
- Squeeze lemon juice. Enjoy!
Camera: Nikon D7100
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens
Setup: Used natural sunlight coming from left, and a reflector on the right side of the frame.
Angle: I clicked these photos with 90°, 70°, 50°,
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