Auntie Surindera and Uncle Gurmit have been our role models and companions on this road called “Life”. I met them in Patiala, Punjab where they had made a home. Our eldest child, “Pauli" and their youngest child, “Dicki” were close in age and had a great time together. Now as Uncle and Auntie enter their 91st year, I wished to remember the beautiful time we enjoyed in Patiala and honor their great contribution to our lives and those of so many others. 
   It’s fitting that the first edition of Menus and Memories honored Auntie with a birthday menu. In this 10th Anniversary edition, the story about Patiala, the historic town where we met, has a special menu with a healthy vegan recipe (along with some rich relatives LOL) that is hearty enough for a weeknight dinner with yogurt and flatbread:

Potatoes with Fenugreek Leaves and Dried Lentil Balls


Yield: 8 servings 

 Frozen fenugreek leaves are very convenient!


2 to 3 Punjabi dried, spiced lentil balls buddian(1 cup lightly crushed)

1 tablespoon oil

2 bunches fresh leaves and smallest stems fenugreek leaves methi(about 4 cups, packed) or ¾ cup, thawed 

¼ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon whole cumin seed

2 yellow onions, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1½-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander seed

1 long green pepper, seeded and sliced or ½ teaspoon cayenne

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1¼ -inch wedges

1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste


Place the lentil balls in a tea towel or zip-loc bag. Break them with a hammer or bottom of a heavy pot. In a small saucepan brown the pieces in the spoon of oil then cover with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and boil for 15 minutes. Set aside.


Soak the fresh leaves and swish to bring any sand to bottom of bowl. Drain, coarsely chop and set aside.


Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or wok. Add the cumin and fry until fragrant. Immediately add the chopped onions and  stir-fry until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and fry until golden. Add the turmeric and coriander seed and fry for another half-minute. Add the chile, potatoes, methi andthe buddianwith a cup of the cooking water. Stir and cover tightly cooking over medium heat for ten minutes. Carefully stir and then cover and simmer over low heat until the potatoes are soft, but not mushy and the methiis tender. Taste for salt.