I recently returned to New York City from India and have everything and nothing to say. Do you ever feel like that? Caught in between two extremes? I’m often asked why I continue journeying to this amazing land. I am drawn to the extremes and the lessons of surrender they bring. My life in America is pretty balanced and I feel like I have control over things for the most part; my temperature, my diet, transportation, water temperature, water availability, knowing I can find a bathroom – simple things, right? Things we take for granted.
I think I go to India every year to continually wake myself up. My trips are rooted in spirituality, so my experiences in India most definitely reground my heart and soul. But with every trip, I re-energize my senses too. The days are thick with new smells, tastes, sounds, sights, and new things to touch. I return home to New York with new eyes, new ears, new taste buds…I feel like who I am, the real me, gets fortified. I strengthen my resolve.
When I step out of my comfort zone, my senses are heightened. I am more aware of my surroundings, and I feel like I’m living on a higher frequency. Colours are more vibrant, smells are more intoxicating, food tastes extra sweet, extra spicy, extra sour, extra savoury, and the sounds of constant horns blowing, temple bells ringing, and street vendors bellowing act as a musical soundtrack that I’ve come to expect and love. I always feel like I am an extra on the set of some exotic movie when I am in India. And like any actor, whether a supporting character or the lead, our job is to stay fully present.
As a personal chef, I bring back culinary inspiration from my travels; restaurants, markets, street food, traditional customs and local ingredients. This trip was no different. We spent a lot of time in Rajasthan. We toured ancient forts and stayed in converted palaces, visited many temples, and ate incredibly tasty food.
When we were in Jaipur, we were treated to lassis. In America, most lassis come in the mango variety, one of my least favourite flavours, so I normally pass. This lassi experience was presented in an extreme way: ”These are the best lassis in all of India. You will be in bliss, you will be sipping ambrosia, tasting divine nectar, you don’t want to miss this.”
Well, when you put it that way…
This lassi came in only two flavours, not a mango in sight, simply SWEET or SALTY. Such a metaphor for India – and life! I chose sweet.
Oh. My. Krishna.
Bliss. Ambrosia. Divine nectar. It was the best lassi in all of India.
I’ve recreated a pumpkin version for you as a nice autumn treat, with all the glorious pumpkins that can be found now in Australia. I chose this otherworldly orange cheese pumpkin from my farmer’s market in NYC.
Pretend you’re in India, drinking an exotic smoothie!
- 1 ½ C plain yogurt (I used fat-free Greek)
- 1 ½ C milk (I used soy)
- 9 T honey
- 4 ice cubes
- ½ t ground cinnamon
- 1 C roasted, pureed pumpkin
In an electric blender, smooth out the yogurt with a little bit of milk, blending for one minute. Add the remaining milk and honey. Blend for one minute. Add the ice cubes and blend for one minute. Add the cinnamon and pumpkin. Blend for 30 seconds until frothy. Pour into two glasses and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
About the Author – Lisa Adams
Lisa is originally from Joplin, Missouri, in the Midwestern United States, but New York has been her home for the past 19 years. She works as a personal chef and a voice over actress and is inspired by the balance of creativity and service.
For more culinary inspiration from New York, follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and visit her website AllGoodThings.nyc.