It was one of those rainy winter days when the air was mild and humid, and the clouds covered every bit of sky without a hint of blue. My husband and I had been tidying up the apartment, making those last minute de-cluttering attempts you make when you’re about to have guests. As a matter of fact, we were expecting company…but this time we weren’t expecting our usual friends who come over for a spontaneous late night snack and card game. We were polishing up our cozy apartment to welcome a different group of friends. A few kind folks who helped kickoff BEYHO!‘s new monthly cooking social series, aptly named: Cook. Eat. Socialize. With 4 days into the new year, I pledged to set a bright and happy tone for my people inside while mother nature pouted at others outside.
Among our visitors for January’s premiere of Cook. Eat. Socialize. #cookeatsocialize, one person was to be the host – or cook, rather – and another to be the photographer. Or shall I say curator? Outside of these two roles are our friends who keep us company and reap in the luxurious gift of a deliciously home-cooked meal. The premise of this new BEYHO! series is exactly as the hashtag suggests: to cook, to eat, and to socialize, where the latter takes on the form of various depths. Not only are we hanging out in the real world, but the conversation continues in the land of social media. Hence, socialize. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our respective websites (see Collaborators at bottom of post) at Cook. Eat. Socialize. #cookeatsocialize.
Now that you understand the biz, I am delighted to present to you the lovely Farah Momin. When Farah is not freelancing as a social media manager, she is babysitting and sometimes petsitting all over Brooklyn. She is so quick on the go with her witty status updates that I find it hard to believe this is her job. She makes it sound so fun and interesting! She also has an innocent, care-free aura about her (suitably perfect for the babysitter role) that one should not discount her intellectual aptitude. This lady has an Undergraduate Degree in Culture & Media Studies, as well as a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from The New School. Prior to moving to New York City, she spent her first two years of college studying journalism at the University of Georgia. She is now founder of her small social media business, FM & Co.
I met Farah in the Spring of 2012. I was waiting for a friend at the bar of Anella, a restaurant that is only a mere skip away from where I live in the lovely neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, when a young lady sitting alone two barstools away from me started chatting me up about a few of her menu favorites. As a fellow food enthusiast, it was only a matter of minutes before we connected on Facebook and Instagram right then and there. We became fast friends in the real world and in the world of social media. I am a softie for interesting, kind people like Farah. People who aren’t afraid to speak to strangers nor are afraid to seek commonalities amongst those that are around you. Jump forward to lots of likes and comments on FB, clicking of hearts on Instagram, a beach trip to The Rockaways, a few social gatherings at my apartment – not to mention a celebratory birthday dinner for the young 28 year old and a WordPress learning session where she demystified the ever so complicated dashboard – to now, my featured guest of January’s Cook. Eat. Socialize. #cookeatsocialize. It’s safe to say Farah is a keeper in my rolodex of new friendships.
Hanging out with Farah is like hanging out with your younger sister – if you’re a decade her senior, like me – who knows all about the cool budding artists and musicians, the goings on in any neighborhood, and the latest social media trends. It means you will get invitations to that neato foodie event at the lavish Wythe Hotel, that backyard pig roast in Bushwick, that museum exhibit in Manhattan, or that discounted rate play at the Lincoln Center. As a child of the 90s and a rearing in her native Georgia, Farah has embraced Brooklyn like it’s her own, taking on to the wind and befriending like minded souls along her tracks.
She is enthusiastic about many things, including cooking her favorite dishes she remembers from her childhood. Her parents are from Gujurat, a state in western India, so it is of no coincidence she has prepared this rich, saucy regional cuisine as the debut offering for this cooking social. As she slowly emptied the contents of her bag, drawing out mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, turmeric, coriander, I knew instantly we were in for a savory treat. The aromatics filled up the kitchen as she started to toast these spices. When it was time to eat, we all saluted cheerfully and thanked our host for cooking a delicious meal. I took my first bite and was overtaken by the spiciness of the saucy lamb curry, immediately soothed by a cold cucumber mint yogurt. The basmati rice, fluffy and adequately basic with plain green peas and cooked with water – no stock – helped balance the richness of the lamb curry and the stewy tomatoes in the Gobi (cauliflower side dish). These flavor-packed stars of the dish were nicely buffered by a makeshift roti, simply heated whole wheat tortillas. I couldn’t have asked for a more palatable start to a new year. With more spice, more love, and more laughter, a life can be really good. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Farah’s Recipe for Lamb Curry with Peas Pulao and Gobi
Cucumber Mint Yogurt
- Peel and dice one small or 1/2 large cucumber.
- Finely chop a handful of mint leaves.
- Mix with 16 – 18 oz. of plain yogurt.
- (Optional) Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to be served.
Cauliflower (aka Gobi in Hindi)
- Chop one head of cauliflower into florets.
- Dice one small tomato or 1/2 large tomato.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep skillet or wok.
- Add 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and 1tsp ginger & garlic paste once oil is warm.
- Add tomatoes and cauliflower, then stir and cover.
- Cook on medium – high heat until cauliflower is semi-tender.
- Uncover and add 1tsp salt, 1 tsp red chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp turmeric. Adjust spices according to preferences — cut amounts in half less if desired spice level is mild.
- Stir until cauliflower is covered in spices and cook to desired tenderness.
- Set 1 lb. of lamb stew pieces out to thaw to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking time.
- Finely chop 1/2 onion, one large or two small tomatoes, small bunch of cilantro, and two green chilies.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in saucepan.
- Add 1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp whole cloves, and 1 tsp ginger & garlic paste once oil is warm.
- Add chopped onion and green chilies and let cook until onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes.
- Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp red chili powder, 2 tsp ground coriander, and 1/2 tsp turmeric and stir. Again, adjust spices according to preferences.
- Add lamb, stir, and add water to cover.
- Cover saucepan and let simmer on medium heat until lamb reaches desired level of tenderness.
- Stir in cilantro, leaving some for garnish.
- If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 tbsp of either yogurt, white flour, or chickpea flour to thicken sauce.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro upon serving.
- Cook 2 cups basmati rice per instructions on package.
- 5 minutes before rice is done, stir in 1/2 cup frozen green peas.
- Unless you know how to make fresh roti yourself, buy whole wheat tortillas and heat on pan as a substitute. Alternately, pick up a couple of orders of naan from your closest Indian restaurant.
Collaborators for this edition of Cook. Eat. Socialize.
Farah Momin | Social Media Manager and Digital Strategist at FM & Co.
Sarah Bode-Clark | Photographer & Food Writer at Sarah Bode-Clark Photography.
Mary Blount | Designer at Mary Blount Design & Illustration.