In happier news, I finally made some of the dishes from my Indian vegetarian cooking class. The first was a ricotta cheese (substituting admirably for paneer) and peas. I fortified it with some chickpeas as well. The second was a simple cucumber raita. Both turned out very well, although the ricotta was a little spicier than I'd planned.
Part of the preparation for this was getting spices, and for this I went to one of the local Indian grocery stores and stocked up on the staples: seeds of coriander, cumin, black mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, etc. Plus some tamarind pulp and frozen coconut, which I'm told lasts forever. But what was shocking was how cheap everything was. Maybe it's just crappy Pittsburgh grocery stores, but herbs (like cilantro/coriander) are difficult to find and expensive. And spices: two bucks got me a big bag of cumin seeds, versus five bucks for a tiny glass container.
Tonight's recipes: an eggplant chutney and some mung bean pancakes.