Cuisine Cascades

For a while in high school my mom and I went to an Indian buffet every Sunday, which had good and bad effects on my ability to cook for myself. On the one hand, it taught me about the variety of dishes in Indian cuisine; on the other hand, any Indian meal that lacks that variety now feels incomplete. And I can’t make an entire Indian buffet myself. Not in one night, anyway.

What I can manage in one night is maybe two or three dishes: something time-consuming like chickpeas started in the morning or the previous night in a slow cooker, alongside a quicker dish like matar paneer and maybe something near-trivial like yellow dal cooked the night of. That’s enough of a spread to feel like the real deal, and such is the nature of Indian food that there are usually several days' worth of leftovers for each.

So that’s when the fun begins, because (often with continued judicious use of the slow cooker) I can then make another dish every night or every other night for a while until I have five or six different dishes available. That’s pretty much a whole buffet’s worth of choices, and if I’m disciplined about eating the older things first, I can ensure that none of it goes to waste by tossing the remnants in the freezer when the selection tapers off. Then I can use those to kickstart things the next time I want to eat a whole bunch of Indian food.